BACKGROUND: Work and marital status have been shown to be associated with health outcome in women. However, the effect of employment and marriage on psychosocial functioning has been studied predominantly in healthy subjects. We investigated whether work and marital status are associated with depressive symptoms, social support, and daily stress behavior in women with coronary artery disease (CAD).
METHODS: Data of 105 women with CAD and of working age were analyzed. General linear models were used to determine the association between work and marital status and depressive symptoms, social support, and daily stress behavior.
RESULTS: Women who were working at the time of measurement had lower levels of depressive symptoms (7.0 +/- 1.2 vs. 12.1 +/- 0.9, p < 0.01) and higher levels of social support (21.6 +/- 1.0 vs. 18.9 +/- 0.7, p = 0.03) than the nonworking women, whereas marital status was not related to any of the outcome variables. Results were similar after adjusting for potential confounders, that is, age, education, self-reported health, and risk factors for CAD. There was no significant interaction between marital status and working status on depressive symptoms, social support, or daily stress behavior.
CONCLUSIONS: In women with CAD, all <65 years of age, after a cardiac event, patients working had lower levels of depressive symptoms and a better social integration than those not working, regardless of reason for being nonemployed. Daily stress behavior, depression, and social support did not differ between cohabiting and not cohabiting women. Future interventions should take into consideration that women with CAD who are unemployed may have a higher risk for depression and social isolation and, therefore, poor clinical outcomes.
2007. Vol. 16, no 9