The relationship between self-report and biomarkers of stress in low-income reproductive-age women

Borders, A. E.; Grobman, W. A.; Amsden, L. B.; McDade, T. W.; Sharp, L. K.; Holl, J. L.

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Sep 28; 203(6):577 e1-8


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is an association between self-reported and biologic measures of stress in low-income, reproductive-age women. STUDY DESIGN: Between 1999 and 2005, randomly selected reproductive-age women from the 1998 welfare rolls in Chicago, IL, were interviewed yearly to assess psychosocial, socioeconomic, and health characteristics. The association of 2 stress-sensitive biomarkers (Epstein-Barr virus antibody titer (EBV) and C-reactive protein level) with self-reported stress was assessed. RESULTS: Of the 206 women who were interviewed, 205 women (99%) agreed to provide a blood sample. There was no difference in mean EBV or C-reactive protein levels based on age, race, parity, employment, marital status, or education. Women who reported a higher degree of perceived stress or reported experiences of discrimination had significantly higher levels of EBV (P < .05). CONCLUSION: Measures of self-reported psychosocial stress are associated with elevated levels EBV antibody in a low-income population of reproductive-age women.

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