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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

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Overt and Covert Anxiety as a Toxic Factor in Ischemic Heart Disease in Women: The Link Between Psychological Factors and Heart Disease

Alicja Nasiłowska-Barud, Tomasz Zapolski, Małgorzata Barud, Andrzej Wysokiński

(Department of Clinical Psychology, Medical University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland)

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:751-758

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.902544

BACKGROUND: Long-term clinical observations have shown that anxiety disorders influence the etiopathogenesis of ischemic heart disease (IHD) in women. The aim of this study was to determine the characteristics of the structure of overt and covert anxiety, and to examine the impact of the severity of anxiety on five personality traits as described Costa and McCrae.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study involved 50 women aged 37 to 74 years, who were treated because of IHD that was confirmed by angiographic examination of the coronary vessels. Psychological studies were conducted using the IPAT Anxiety Scale (Cattell) and NEO-FFI Personality Inventory (Costa and McCrae).
RESULTS: From among the 50 women with IHD included in the study, 28 had higher overt anxiety scores than covert anxiety scores. Women with high overt anxiety were more emotionally changeable (C–), became impatient more easily, and expressed disappointment with life. They also worried about life problems more frequently. They had considerable suspiciousness (L+) and less trust towards the environment. They had a much stronger tendency to blame themselves (O+) and had intense internal, neurotic tension (Q4+). Women with high levels of overt anxiety had more neurotic traits (NEU), and lower openness to experience (OPE) scores.
CONCLUSIONS: Women with IHD were characterized by a high level of unease and anxiety. This may have resulted from lack of personality harmony, lack of personality integrity, or experienced value crises. Internal tension, auto-aggression, lowered emotional stability, and a sense of threat dominate the structure of unease and anxiety.

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