Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Biing-Jiun Shen

Second Committee Member

Frank J. Penedo

Third Committee Member

Arlette Perry


C-reactive protein (CRP) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, and stroke. In addition to traditional risk factors of CVD, some studies have shown that depression and anger independently predict CRP, but other studies have found null results, and few, if any, studies have considered possible roles of physical activity and diet. The purpose of this study was to investigate the ability of certain psychosocial variables to predict CRP controlling for traditional CVD risk factors. Cross-sectional data for 300 healthy women who participated in the Stockholm Female Coronary Risk Study were analyzed. Regression analyses were performed to determine whether anger, depression, social support, marital stress, and self-esteem were associated with CRP levels while controlling for relevant covariates. Analyses investigated possible mediating effects of certain aspects of diet and physical activity and whether body composition (measured by waist circumference) and fasting glucose moderates the relationship between psychosocial variables and CRP. We found that anger symptoms were negatively associated with CRP and anger discussion was positively associated with CRP controlling for several biological variables. Diet and physical activity did not explain the relationship between these anger variables and CRP. Social support in the forms of social attachment and social integration were positively associated with CRP among women with a larger waist circumference and higher fasting glucose, respectively. Marital stress was positively related to CRP among women with a larger waist circumference. Among women with a smaller waist circumference, marital stress was negatively related to CRP and social integration was positively related to CRP. These findings suggest that having a large waist in addition to less social support and more marital stress is disadvantageous with regard to CRP. Furthermore, it is possible that being quite thin may not necessarily be advantageous with regard to inflammation.


Mediator; Moderator; Inflammation; Regression