Objective Evaluation of Psychosocial Stress and Its Association with Cardiovascular Risk in Women
Background Psychosocial stress in women is an emerging problem that is by and large unnoticed. Workplaces are being stressful places for women, but the degree of the stress as perceived by them is highly subjective.
Aim To evaluate the stress using the 10-item perceived stress scale (PSS-10) and dividing the participants into low, moderate, and severe stress groups based on the scores. To objectively assess the cardiovascular risk using heart rate variability (HRV) as an index.
Methods After obtaining informed and written consent, a mixed population of 50 women working at various levels in the hospital, and home-makers were included in the study. PSS-10 questionnaires were administered and scores were obtained. Electrocardiogram was obtained from lead II at rest for 10 minutes, and HRV was estimated using the LabChart Pro software (ADInstruments).
Results Of the participants, 72% were in the moderate perceived stress group. Mean PSS scores were 10.33 ± 0.82, 19.72 ± 3.4, and 29.3 ± 2.3 in low, moderate, and high stress groups, respectively. Frequency-domain measures showed very significant difference across the groups. Very low frequency (VLF) was reduced (p = 0.04) and low frequency (LF) was higher (p = 0.01) in the high stress group.
Conclusions Reduced VLF in the high perceived stress group is an indicator of higher cardiovascular mortality risk, which also signifies posttraumatic stress disorder. High LF and reduced high-low frequency powers signify autonomic imbalance in these women. Their perceptions of the stress were also more toward the inability to contain positive emotions when compared with having negative emotions related to stress.
16 March 2020 (online)
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