The relationship between perceived discrimination and coronary artery obstruction

Am Heart J. 2012 Apr;163(4):677-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2012.01.006.


Background: Chronic stressors such as perceived discrimination might underlie race disparities in cardiovascular disease. This study focused on the relationship between perceived discrimination and risk of severe coronary obstruction while also accounting for multiple psychosocial variables and clinical factors.

Methods: Data from 793 (629 white and 164 black) male veterans with positive nuclear imaging studies were analyzed. Participants were categorized as being at low/moderate or high risk for severe coronary obstruction based on results of their nuclear imaging studies. Hierarchical logistic regression models were tested separately for blacks and whites. The first step of the models included clinical factors. The second step included the psychosocial variables of optimism, religiosity, negative affect, and social support. The final step included perceived discrimination.

Results: Perceived discrimination was positively related to risk of severe obstruction among blacks but not among whites after controlling for clinical and psychosocial variables. Similar results were found in patients who underwent coronary angiography (n = 311).

Conclusions: Perceived discrimination was associated with risk of severe coronary obstruction among black male veterans and could be an important target for future interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Coronary Occlusion / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Occlusion / ethnology
  • Coronary Occlusion / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prejudice*
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology
  • United States
  • Veterans
  • Young Adult