Depression is a common comorbidity in patients with cardiovascular conditions. This study aims to assess the association between comorbid depression and health-promoting behavior in middle-aged and older Australian women with hypertension or heart disease.
Data are from a subset of 45 and Up Study participants with diagnosed chronic illness (n = 1,925). Health behaviors including smoking status, alcohol consumption, and physical activity were assessed. Associations of depression with health behaviors in women with hypertension or heart disease were analyzed using unadjusted and adjusted (for chronic conditions and demographic measures) logistic regression models.
A total of 666 women with hypertension and 220 women with heart disease were included in the analysis. In adjusted analyses, women with hypertension and comorbid depression were 2.36 (95% confidence interval, 1.02–5.46) times more likely to be risky or high-risk drinkers and 55% (adjusted odds ratio, 0.45; 95% confidence interval, 0.27–0.73) less likely to be highly physically active, compared with women without depression. Women with heart disease and comorbid depression were 65% (adjusted odds ratio, 0.35; 95% confidence interval, 0.12–0.95) less likely to be highly physically active, compared with women without depression.
This study provides the first data indicating that depression may be a barrier to health-promoting behavior in middle-aged and older women with hypertension or heart disease. Given that physical inactivity and risky alcohol consumption are important risk factors for aggravation of cardiologic conditions, health-promoting behaviors should be specifically targeted in the treatment of women with comorbid depression.