Life satisfaction and coronary atherosclerosis: The SCAPIS study

J Psychosom Res. 2021 Nov 7:152:110663. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2021.110663. Online ahead of print.


Background: There is an increasing interest in the potential health benefits of positive psychological states, especially with regard to cardiovascular health. Life satisfaction is thought to be a constituent component of psychological well-being; however, among the few previous studies that have investigated its associations with early stages of the cardiovascular disease process, only one small study has focused on coronary atherosclerosis. The present study aimed to explore associations between life satisfaction and coronary artery disease.

Methods: The study used cross-sectional data from SCAPIS Malmö (n = 6251 randomly selected men and women, aged 50-64 years), including assessment of life satisfaction and coronary artery calcification. Adjustments were made for sociodemographic factors, depression, and cardiovascular risk factors as assessed with the SCORE instrument.

Results: Higher levels of life satisfaction were associated with lower odds of increased coronary artery calcification. This association persisted after adjusting for sociodemographic factors and depression, but lost significance after adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors. Sub-analyses revealed a significant dose-response relationship between higher life satisfaction and lower grade of coronary calcification in all investigated coronary artery regions.

Conclusion: In this population-based sample, life satisfaction was associated with better coronary artery health. However, this association was largely explained by cardiovascular risk factors, indicating that life satisfaction is linked to coronary atherosclerosis through a decreased load of cardiovascular risk factors.

Keywords: Coronary artery calcification; Epidemiology; Life satisfaction; Public health.