Childhood adversities experienced by working-aged coronary heart disease patients

J Psychosom Res. 2005 Nov;59(5):331-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2005.04.005.


Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate associations between childhood adversities and coronary heart disease (CHD).

Methods: This was a case-control study based on a postal questionnaire addressed to randomly selected working-aged Finns, and response rate was 39% (N = 15,477). The sample comprised 319 CHD patients. Four age- and gender-matched controls were selected for every patient. The participants were asked in six questions to think about their childhood adversities.

Results: Fear of some family member and someone in the family being seriously or chronically ill were more common during childhood among working-aged CHD patients than among controls. Likewise, among female CHD patients, serious conflicts in the family and someone in the family having had alcohol problems and, among male CHD patients, long-lasting financial problems were more common than among controls. Odds ratios (OR) varied between 1.27 and 2.66. Adjustment for education had no influence among women, but it had an influence among men. Upon adjustment for conventional risk factors (smoking, obesity, and hypertension), the association mostly disappeared. A family member having been seriously or chronically ill was statistically significant after full adjustment among both genders.

Conclusion: Working-aged CHD patients have experienced more dramatic events during their childhood than did the control population. This issue cannot be solved in doctors' offices. Health-promoting social policies are of vital importance.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Coronary Artery Disease / etiology*
  • Divorce
  • Family Health*
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological