Worry in Mexican American Elders: The Role of Age, Gender, and Metabolic Syndrome




Chaphekar, Anita V.
Hall, James
Johnson, Leigh
O'Bryant, Sid


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  1. Purpose: Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is defined as risk factors which increase an individual’s risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Risk factors include: abdominal obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and elevated blood glucose. Research has suggested that worry, independent of anxiety, can contribute to poor health effects such as those seen with MetS. Mexican Americans (MA) have a high prevalence of worry and MetS, however a relationship between these variables has yet to be investigated for this population. The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship between MetS and worry in the MA population. It is hypothesized that individuals with high levels of worry will be more likely to have MetS and show elevated risk factors. This study also examines the effect of age and gender on levels of worry in this population.
  2. Methods: This cross-sectional study used data collected from the Health and Aging Brain Study among Latino Elders. Participants were grouped into a high or low worry category based on their Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) score. Odds ratio was calculated for the presence of MetS. Independent sample t-tests were used to analyze the following: differences in MetS risk factors between individuals with high and low levels of worry, and differences in levels of worry based on gender and age.
  3. Results: Odds ratio calculation was not significant for the presence of MetS (95% CI 0.443-1.163, p = 0.18) between individuals of differing levels of worry. Participants with high and low worry showed a significant difference in abdominal circumference (p = 0.025) and blood glucose (p = 0.038). Males and females showed a significant difference in total PSWQ score (p = 0.000). There was a significant difference in total PSWQ score between individuals aged 61 and above and those aged 60 and below (p = 0.006).
  4. Conclusion: Individuals with a high level of worry did not have an increased likelihood to have MetS compared to individuals in a low worry group. However, when analyzing each risk factor alone, participants in a high worry group had a greater abdominal circumference and higher fasting glucose levels compared to those in a low worry group. The results of this study suggest the association of waist size and blood glucose with elevated levels of worry in the MA population. Results showed that females and individuals under the age of 61 have higher levels of worry compared to males and those over the age of 61, respectively.