Happiness is related to cardiovascular risk: a cross-sectional study in Spain

Psychol Health Med. 2022 Mar;27(3):715-721. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2021.1971726. Epub 2021 Aug 26.


The study of cardiovascular risk factors has been deeply described in recent years, but the findings on the complex role of psychological indicators (i.e. happiness and depression) on cardiovascular health are mixed. The primary goal of our study was to examine the extent to which certain psychological aspects, namely happiness and depression, can predict cardiovascular risk. A sample of 173 (Mage = 44.9, SD = 14; 62% females) individuals from the general population who attended a public hospital of Lleida (Spain) participated voluntarily in the study. We measured happiness, depression and different clinical and sociodemographic variables. The sample reported low levels of depression and moderate levels of happiness, overweight levels of body mass index and mainly low levels of cardiovascular risk. Happiness was correlated positively to cardiovascular risk and negatively to depression. Increases in happiness, but not in depression, were associated with people being in a higher group of cardiovascular risk. Despite a body of literature indicates that subjective well-being has a protective role over cardiovascular health, the contradictory findings of our study might be explained by several factors. The present findings invite to consider the complex and indirect influence of happiness on physical health. Future research should investigate the potential biological and behavioral processes of happiness linked with increases in cardiovascular risk.

Keywords: Happiness; cardiovascular health; cardiovascular risk; depression; mental health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Happiness*
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology