An international perspective on gender differences in anxiety early after acute myocardial infarction

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Journal Article
Psychosomatic Medicine, 2003, 65 (4), pp. 511 - 516
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Objective: Higher anxiety is linked to poorer outcomes after acute myocardial infarction (AMI), including increased in-hospital reinfarction and potentially life-threatening complications. If clinicians can identify patients at greatest risk for anxiety after AMI, they can institute early treatment. Previous research on the influence of gender on the incidence of anxiety post-AMI reflects inconsistent findings, and differences across cultures have not been studied. Therefore, the purposes of this study were to determine: 1) whether there are gender differences in anxiety in a diverse international sample of AMI patients, and 2) whether there was an interaction between gender and sociodemographic and clinical variables thought to influence anxiety. Methods: In this prospective, comparative study, 912 AMI patients were enrolled from Australia, South Korea, Japan, England, and the United States. Anxiety was assessed, using the Brief Symptom Inventory, within the first 72 hours of admission to the hospital for AMI symptoms. Results: Women had higher anxiety levels than men (0.76 ± 0.90 vs. 0.57 ± 0.70, p =.005), and this pattern of higher anxiety in women was seen in each country studied. Neither sociodemographic nor clinical variables interacted with gender to influence anxiety. Conclusion: Across a variety of cultures, women have higher anxiety than men after AMI and this relationship is independent of age, education level, marital status, or presence of comorbidities or severity of AMI.
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