Perceived discrimination and stressful life events are associated with cardiovascular risk score in migrant and non-migrant populations: The RODAM study

Int J Cardiol. 2019 Jul 1;286:169-174. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2018.12.056. Epub 2018 Dec 21.


Background: Psychosocial stress could be an underlying factor for emerging risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in Africans. We assessed the association between psychosocial stress and estimated CVD risk among non-migrant Ghanaians and migrant Ghanaians living in Europe.

Methods: Data from the Research on Obesity and Diabetes among African Migrants (RODAM) study, involving 2315 migrant and 1549 non-migrants aged 40-70 years were used for this study. Psychosocial stress included self-reported stress at work and home, recent negative life events and perceived discrimination. CVD risk was estimated using the pooled cohort equations with estimates ≥7.5% over 10 years defining high CVD risk. Adjusted Odds Ratios (AOR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated by logistic regression with adjustments for socioeconomic status.

Results: Prevalence for migrant and non-migrants were; 72.5% and 84.9% for psychosocial stress and 35.9% and 27.4% for high estimated CVD risk. Stress at work and home was not associated with a high estimated CVD risk in either group. Recent negative life events were associated with a high estimated CVD risk in non-migrants only (AOR 1.29, 95%CI 1.02-1.68, p = 0.048). Higher levels of perceived discrimination were associated with a high estimated CVD risk in migrants only (AOR 2.74, 95%CI 1.95-3.86, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Among migrant populations, higher levels of perceived discrimination were associated with a high estimated CVD risk, and this was also true for recent negative life events among non-migrant populations. Further research is needed to identify context specific mechanisms that underlie associations between psychological characteristics and CVD risk.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease risk; Migrants; Psychosocial stress; RODAM study; Sub-Saharan Africans.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Ghana / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology*
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Transients and Migrants / psychology*