Title

Enhanced cardiovascular and catecholamine responses in women with depressive symptoms

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-1998

Department

Psychology

Abstract

To test the hypothesis that cardiovascular and sympathetic nervous system responses before and during behavioral stressors are exaggerated among subjects with depressed mood who do not have clinical depressive disorder. Sixty healthy women aged 18-49 were initially asked to complete the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The 15 with the highest (Depressive Symptom group) and the 15 with the lowest BDI scores (Control group) underwent stress testing including baseline, postural challenge, a speech task describing responses to a recent anger-arousing experience and recovery. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels were higher in the Depressive Symptom group during baseline, challenges and recovery. This group also showed shorter pre-ejection period (a marker of enhanced cardiac sympathetic activation) and lesser heart rate variability across all test periods. During the speech task only, the Depressive Symptom group exhibited greater increases in plasma norepinephrine and higher cardiac output responses associated with decreased interbeat interval (faster heart rate). These results support the a priori hypothesis regarding enhanced sympathetic and cardiovascular activity. Finally, the BDI scores correlated very highly with lack of perceived emotional social support, reinforcing prior research on the linkage between social isolation and severity of depressive symptoms. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.

Publication Title

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY

Volume

28

Issue

2

First Page

157

Last Page

166