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Quality of Parental Emotional Care and Calculated Risk for Coronary Heart Disease


Almeida, Nisha D.; Loucks, Eric B.; Kubzansky, Laura D.; Pruessner, Jens; Maselko, Joanna; Meaney, Michael J.; & Buka, Stephen L. (2010). Quality of Parental Emotional Care and Calculated Risk for Coronary Heart Disease. Psychosomatic Medicine, 72(2), 148-155. PMCID: PMC2837946


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate associations between perceived quality of parental emotional care and calculated 10-year risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). Little is understood about the role of parental emotional care in contributing to the risk for CHD.
METHODS: The study sample was composed of 267 participants from the New England Family Study. Quality of parental emotional care was measured, using a validated short version of the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) as the average care scores for both parents (range = 0-12), with higher scores indicating greater care. Ten-year CHD risk was calculated, using the validated Framingham Risk Algorithm that incorporates the following prevalent CHD risk factors: age, sex, diabetes, smoking, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and blood pressure. Multiple linear regression assessed associations of PBI with calculated CHD risk after adjusting for childhood socioeconomic status, depressive symptomatology, educational attainment, and body mass index.
RESULTS: Among females, a 1-unit increase in the parental emotional care score resulted in a 4.6% (p = .004) decrease in the 10-year CHD risk score, after adjusting for covariates. There was no association between parental emotional care score and calculated CHD risk score in males (p = .22).
CONCLUSION: Quality of parental emotional care was inversely associated with calculated 10-year CHD risk in females, and not males. Although the gender differences need further investigation and these findings require replication, these results suggest that the early childhood psychosocial environment may confer risk for CHD in adulthood.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Psychosomatic Medicine


Almeida, Nisha D.
Loucks, Eric B.
Kubzansky, Laura D.
Pruessner, Jens
Maselko, Joanna
Meaney, Michael J.
Buka, Stephen L.