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Perceived daily psychological demands in healthy adults not taking blood pressure medication are associated with progression of carotid atherosclerosis

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Question: Are perceived daily psychological demands in healthy adults associated with 6-year changes in atherosclerosis and are associations moderated by antihypertensives or employment status?

People: In total, 340 initially healthy participants aged between 50 and 70 years are taking part in the Pittsburgh Healthy Heart Project. Of these, 270 (79%) had data available at baseline and follow-up (54% women and 14% non-white). People with a history of a long-term medical disorder (including symptomatic cardiovascular disease), blood pressure greater than 110/180 mm Hg or who had taken drug treatment for hypertension or hypercholesterolaemia in the past year were excluded. Employment status was assessed at baseline. Participants attended six additional assessments over 6 years.

Setting: Pittsburgh, USA; 1998–2006.

Risk factors: Perceived experiences of demand and control during daily life as assessed by the Job Content Questionnaire and ecological momentary assessment (EMA). EMA assessment included: self-measured ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) using an automated monitor, with each reading prompting a questionnaire adapted from the Diary of Ambulatory Behavioural States to characterise daily experience (including questions on task demand, task control and decisional choice) all recorded …

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