Social role stress, reward, and the american heart association life’s simple 7 in midlife women: The study of women’s health across the nation

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: Most women occupy multiple social roles during midlife. Perceived stress and rewards from these roles may influence health behaviors and risk factors. This study examined whether social role stress and reward were associated with the American Heart Association Life’s Simple 7 in a cohort of midlife women in the United States. METHODS AND RESULTS: Women (n=2764) rated how stressful and rewarding they perceived their social roles during cohort follow-up (age range, 42–61 years). Body mass index, blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, physical activity, diet, and smoking were assessed multiple times. All components were collected at the fifth study visit for 1694 women (mean age, 51 years). Adjusted linear and logistic regression models were used in analyses of the number of ideal components and the odds of achieving the ideal level of each component, respectively. Longitudinal analyses using all available data from follow-up visits were conducted. At the fifth visit, more stressful and less rewarding social roles were associated with fewer ideal cardiovascular factors. Higher average stress was associated with lower odds of any component of a healthy diet and an ideal blood pressure. Higher rewards were associated with greater odds of ideal physical activity and nonsmoking. Longitudinal analyses produced consistent results; moreover, there was a significant relationship between greater stress and lower odds of ideal glucose and body mass index. CONCLUSIONS: Perceived stress and rewards from social roles may influence cardiovascular risk factors in midlife women. Considering social role qualities may be important for improving health behaviors and risk factors in midlife women.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Stewart AL; Magnani JW; Barinas-Mitchell E; Matthews KA; El Khoudary SR; Jackson EA; Brooks MM
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 24