The following is a summary of “Impact of Marital Stress on 1‐Year Health Outcomes Among Young Adults With Acute Myocardial Infarction,” published in the August 2023 issue of Cardiology by Zhu et al.
Marital stress can worsen the health outcomes of young adults with heart attacks. There is limited research on this association in young adults. Researchers performed a retrospective study to investigate the association between marital stress and patient-reported outcomes in young adults with acute myocardial infarction (AMI).
This observational cohort study included adults aged 18 to 55 who experienced AMI. Marital stress, categorized as absent/mild, moderate, or severe, was self-reported a month post-AMI using the Stockholm Marital Stress Scale. Data were utilized from the VIRGO (Variation in Recovery: Role of Gender on Outcomes of Young AMI Patients). The examined outcomes were physical/mental health (Short Form-12), general health status (EuroQol-5 Dimensions), cardiac-specific quality of life, angina (Seattle Angina Questionnaire), depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire-9), and all-cause readmission at one-year post-AMI. Regression models were adjusted for baseline health, demographics (sex, age, race/ethnicity), and socioeconomic factors (education, income, employment, insurance). The interaction between sex and marital stress was also assessed.
The results demonstrated that out of 1,593 married/partnered participants, 576 (36.2%) experienced severe marital stress. This was more prevalent among females than males (39.4% vs. 30.4%, P=0.001). Severe marital stress was linked to poorer mental health (beta=-2.13, SE=0.75, P=0.004), general health status (beta=-3.87, SE=1.46, P=0.008), cardiac-specific quality of life (beta=-6.41, SE=1.65, P<0.001), and higher odds of angina (OR=1.49 [95% CI, 1.06-2.10], P=0.023) and all-cause readmissions (OR=1.45 [95% CI, 1.04-2.00], P=0.006). These associations remained significant after accounting for baseline health, demographics, and socioeconomic factors. These findings were consistent across genders (P-interaction all >0.05).
The study found marital stress was associated with worse health outcomes in young adults with a heart attack. This suggests that young heart attack patients should be screened for marital stress, and those struggling should be supported.