Indexed on: 08 Jul '14Published on: 08 Jul '14Published in: Journal of hypertension
Contrary to lay beliefs, current perceived stress is not consistently associated with the incidence of high blood pressure (BP) in prospective studies, possibly because of moderating factors. The present prospective study examined this association and explored the potential moderating effects of sex or occupational status.The 4-item Perceived Stress Scale was filled at baseline by 19 766 normotensive adults (13 652 men, mean age ± SD: 46.8 ± 9.3 years), without history of cardiovascular and renal disease, and not on either psychotropic or antihypertensive drugs.After a mean follow-up of 5.8 ± 2.1 years, 3774 participants (19.1%) had high BP, defined as having a SBP at least 140 mmHg or a DBP at least 90 mmHg, or using antihypertensive drugs. There was a significant interaction between baseline-perceived stress and sex (P = 0.02) in relation to high BP at follow-up. After adjustment for potential confounders, baseline perceived stress was associated with high BP at follow-up in women [odds ratio 1.20, 95% confidence interval 1.03-1.38, P = 0.016). In addition, the interaction between perceived stress and occupational status was significant among women (P = 0.02). Baseline-perceived stress was positively associated with high BP at follow-up among women of medium or low occupational status, with odds ratio suggesting a linear increase of the risk (P = 0.005).Perceived stress may be considered as a risk factor for hypertension in women of lower occupational status. Research addressing the relationships between stress and high BP should systematically look for possible interactions with sex and occupational status.