Sex and Gender Differences in Psychosocial Risk Factors for Ischemic Heart Disease

  • Paula M. C. MommersteegEmail author
  • Jos W. M. G. Widdershoven
  • Willem Johan Kop


Women have more depression and anxiety than men, which are associated with an increased risk of mortality in ischemic heart disease (IHD). Psychosocial factors are related to inflammation and an autonomic nervous system imbalance. Younger (premenopausal) women have a stronger effect for psychosocial factors and IHD outcomes than older women. Social norms and status, gender roles and expectations also contribute to health status in individuals with IHD. It may be difficult to distinguish cardiac symptoms from anxiety or a panic attack. Specific interventions are needed to reduce (chronic) psychosocial stress in women.


Anger Anxiety Autonomic dysfunction Depression Gender roles Heart rate variability (HRV) Inflammation Ischemic heart disease (IHD) Loneliness Panic attack Psychosocial factors Psychological distress Socioeconomic status Stress Type D personality 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula M. C. Mommersteeg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jos W. M. G. Widdershoven
    • 1
    • 2
  • Willem Johan Kop
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical and Clinical PsychologyCenter of Research on Psychology in Somatic Diseases (CoRPS), Tilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of CardiologyElisabeth-Tweesteden HospitalTilburgThe Netherlands

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