Chronic Stress Burden, Visceral Adipose Tissue, and Adiposity-Related Inflammation: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

Erin Delker, Bandar AlYami, Linda C. Gallo, John M. Ruiz, Moyses Szklo, Matthew A. Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: We investigated the role of chronic stress burden on adiposity and adiposity-related inflammation with two hypotheses: a) greater chronic stress is associated with higher central adiposity and selective accumulation of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) compared with subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and b) associations between VAT and inflammatory biomarkers are exacerbated when chronic stress is high. METHODS: Data come from 1809 participants included in a Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis ancillary study of body composition and adiposity-related inflammation. Chronic psychosocial stress was measured with a five-item version of the Chronic Stress Burden Scale. First, we tested associations between chronic stress (three-level categorical variable) and VAT, SAT, and VAT/SAT ratio. Second, we tested whether associations between VAT and inflammatory biomarkers varied by level of chronic stress. RESULTS: Participants were approximately 65 years, 50% female, and 40.5% White, 25.6% Hispanic, 21.2% African American, and 12.8% Chinese American. About half of the sample reported little to no stress, and a quarter and a fifth of the sample reported medium and high levels of stress. Higher levels of chronic stress were associated with greater VAT and SAT, but not VAT/SAT ratio. Greater levels of VAT were associated with increased levels of adiposity-related inflammation in a graded pattern. These associations did not vary by stress level. CONCLUSIONS: Greater chronic stress burden is associated with both central and subcutaneous adiposity. We found no evidence that the associations between VAT and inflammatory biomarkers are exacerbated by chronic stress. Findings contribute to ongoing literature untangling pathways in which psychosocial stress contributes to adiposity-related inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)834-842
Number of pages9
JournalPsychosomatic medicine
Volume83
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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