Objective: This study tested whether feelings of personal control over one's life circumstances (i.e., personal mastery) would attenuate the relations between stress (i.e., negative life events and caregiving distress) and Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor (PAI)-1 antigen, an inhibitor of fibrinolysis implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease.
Design: Seventy-one spousal dementia caregivers were assessed for plasma levels of PAI-1 antigen, negative life events, caregiver distress, and feelings of personal mastery. Regression analysis was used to determine if personal mastery moderated the relations between stress (i.e., life stress and caregiving distress) and PAI-1 antigen levels.
Main outcome measure: Plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 antigen in plasma.
Results: After controlling for other factors associated with PAI-1 antigen levels, negative life events were positively associated with plasma PAI-1 antigen concentrations in participants low in personal mastery (beta = .31; p = .050) but not in individuals high in personal mastery (beta = .22; p = .184). The moderating effect of mastery on the relations between caregiving distress and PAI-1 antigen did not reach statistical significance (p = .091).
Conclusions: These data suggest that mastery may protect individuals from some of the alterations in hemostatic factors that have been linked to cardiovascular risk.
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