Gender Disparities Between Neighborhood Social Vulnerability and Psychological Distress Among Patients with Heart Disease

Samaah Sullivan, An Young, Mariana Garcia, Zakaria Almuwaqqat, Kasra Moazzami, Muhammad Hammadah, Bruno B. Lima, Emily G. Driggers, Oleksiy Levantsevych, Mhmtjamil Alkhalaf, Mohamad Nour Jajeh, Ayman Alkhoder, Lisa Elon, Holly Gooding, Tené T. Lewis, Amit J. Shah, J. Douglas Bremner, Arshed A. Quyyumi, Viola Vaccarino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Psychological stress disorders are twice as prevalent in women with ischemic heart disease compared to men. The disproportionate psychological health experience of these women is not well understood. The objective of this study was to examine whether neighborhood social factors are associated with disparities in psychological health by gender. Materials and Methods: We studied 286 patients with heart disease recruited from Emory-based hospitals in the Myocardial Infarction and Mental Stress 2 Study (n = 286). A global measure of psychological distress was calculated by taking an average of ranks across symptom scales for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, anger, and perceived stress. The social vulnerability index (SVI) was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was used to rank patients' census tracks on 14 social factors. Beta coefficients for mean ranks in psychological distress scores were estimated per 10-unit increase in SVI percentile ranking using multilevel regression models. Results: The mean age of the sample was 51 years, 49% were women, and 66% African American. After adjusting for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, and antidepressant use, each 10-unit increase in SVI percentile ranking was associated with 4.65 (95% CI: 0.61-8.69; p = 0.02) unit increase in mean scores for psychological distress among women only (SVI-by-gender-interaction = 0.01). These associations were driven by the SVI themes of lower socioeconomic status and poorer access to housing and transportation. Conclusion: Neighborhood social vulnerability may be a psychosocial stressor that potentiates women's susceptibility to adverse psychological and cardiovascular health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1440-1449
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • gender differences
  • heart disease
  • neighborhood
  • psychological distress
  • social vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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