SSM Popul Health. 2019 Oct 13;9:100500. doi: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2019.100500. eCollection 2019 Dec.
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. We investigated 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. We 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% high vs. 6.5% low), depression score (10.6% high vs. 4.6% low) and composite stress score (16.2% high vs. 7.0% low). There were minimal differences among men. For Puerto Rican adults, cardiovascular non-innate susceptibility to adverse effects of ambient particles may be greater for women under high stress. This work contributes to understanding health disparities among minority ethnic populations.