Plasma lipids and their relationships with psychosocial factors in older adults

Peter P. Vitaliano, Joan Russo, Raymond Niaura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Correlations of psychosocial factors (e.g., anger, avoidance coping, Type A behavior) with plasma lipid levels have been observed primarily in men younger than 60 years of age. This study examined these relationships in two groups of older women and men — spouse caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (n = 98) and controls (n = 91) group-matched for age and gender. Regression analyses determined whether psychosocial variables could explain variability in plasma lipids beyond relevant covariates. Covariates examined were gender, age, alcohol intake, smoking, body mass index, cardiovascular medications, diet (saturated fat), exercise, and estrogen use. Even with statistical controls, combinations of anger held-in, Type A behavior, anger-out, controlled anger, avoidance coping, and caregiving status explained significant variability in triglycerides (TG), high-density lipoproteins (HDLC), and low-density lipoproteins (LDLC). Male caregivers had higher TG and lower HDLC values than male controls. Results are discussed in the context of current thinking in the health psychology of aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)P18-P24
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume50 B
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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