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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Georgia State: Study Shows Puerto Rican Women Under High Stress More Susceptible to the Effects of Air Pollution

Dr. Christina H. Fuller, assistant professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences at the Georgia State University School of Public Health, was the lead researcher on a study investigating whether the association between short-term changes in ambient particulate matter and cardiovascular health risk differed by psychosocial stressors in a Puerto Rican cohort, comparing women and men.  

There is substantial evidence linking particulate matter air pollution with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, health disparities between populations may exist due to imprecisely defined non-innate susceptibility factors. Psychosocial stressors are associated with cardiovascular disease and may increase non-innate susceptibility to air-pollution. 

The research team used data from the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study (BPRHS), a longitudinal study of cardiovascular health among adults, collected between 2004 and 2013. We used mixed effect models to estimate the association of current-day ambient particle number concentration (PNC) on C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation, and effect modification by psychosocial stressors (depression, acculturation, perceived stress, discrimination, negative life events and a composite score). 

Point estimates of percent difference in CRP per interquartile range change in PNC varied among women with contrasting levels of stressors: negative life events (15.7 percent high vs. 6.5 percent low), depression score (10.6 percent high vs. 4.6 percent low) and composite stress score (16.2 percent high vs. 7.0 percent low). There were minimal differences among men.

Learn more about Dr. Christina H. Fuller’s research.

Learn more about Dr. Christina H. Fuller.

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