Phobic Anxiety and Plasma Levels of Global Oxidative Stress in Women

Eur J Psychiatry. Jan-Mar 2015;29(1):7-20. doi: 10.4321/S0213-61632015000100001.


Background and objectives: Psychological distress has been hypothesized to be associated with adverse biologic states such as higher oxidative stress and inflammation. Yet, little is known about associations between a common form of distress - phobic anxiety - and global oxidative stress. Thus, we related phobic anxiety to plasma fluorescent oxidation products (FlOPs), a global oxidative stress marker.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis among 1,325 women (aged 43-70 years) from the Nurses' Health Study. Phobic anxiety was measured using the Crown-Crisp Index (CCI). Adjusted least-squares mean log-transformed FlOPs were calculated across phobic categories. Logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (OR) comparing the highest CCI category (≥6 points) vs. lower scores, across FlOPs quartiles.

Results: No association was found between phobic anxiety categories and mean FlOP levels in multivariable adjusted linear models. Similarly, in multivariable logistic regression models there were no associations between FlOPs quartiles and likelihood of being in the highest phobic category. Comparing women in the highest vs. lowest FlOPs quartiles: FlOP_360: OR=0.68 (95% CI: 0.40-1.15); FlOP_320: OR=0.99 (95% CI: 0.61-1.61); FlOP_400: OR=0.92 (95% CI: 0.52, 1.63).

Conclusions: No cross-sectional association was found between phobic anxiety and a plasma measure of global oxidative stress in this sample of middle-aged and older women.

Keywords: Anxiety; Biochemical markers; Biological psychiatry; Oxidative Stress; Phobic Anxiety.