Aims: Coping strategies may be significantly associated with health outcomes. This is the first study to investigate the association between baseline coping strategies and cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidence and mortality in a general population cohort.
Methods and results: The Japan Public Health Center-based prospective Study asked questions on coping in its third follow-up survey (2000-04). Analyses on CVD incidence and mortality included 57 017 subjects aged 50-79 without a history of CVD and who provided complete answers on approach- and avoidance-oriented coping behaviours and strategies. Cox regression models, adjusted for confounders, were used to determine hazard ratios (HRs) according to coping style. Mean follow-up time was 7.9 years for incidence and 8.0 years for mortality.The premorbid use of an approach-oriented coping strategy was inversely associated with incidence of stroke (HR = 0.85; 95% CI, 0.73-1.00) and CVD mortality (HR = 0.74; 95% CI, 0.55-0.99). Stroke subtype analyses revealed an inverse association between the approach-oriented coping strategy and incidence of ischaemic stroke (HR = 0.79; 95% CI, 0.64-0.98) and a positive association between the combined coping strategy and incidence of intra-parenchymal haemorrhage (HR = 2.03; 95% CI, 1.01-4.10). Utilizing an avoidance coping strategy was associated with increased mortality from ischaemic heart disease (IHD) only in hypertensive individuals (HR = 3.46; 95% CI, 1.07-11.18). The coping behaviours fantasizing and positive reappraisal were associated with increased risk of CVD incidence (HR = 1.24; 95% CI, 1.03-1.50) and reduced risk of IHD mortality (HR = 0.63; 95% CI, 0.40-0.99), respectively.
Conclusion: An approach-oriented coping strategy, i.e. proactively dealing with sources of stress, may be associated with significantly reduced stroke incidence and CVD mortality in a Japanese population-based cohort.
Keywords: Cohort; Coping; Incidence; Mortality; Myocardial infarction; Stroke.
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