Are there bi-directional associations between depressive symptoms and C-reactive protein in mid-life women?

Karen A. Matthews, Laura L. Schott, Joyce T. Bromberger, Jill M. Cyranowski, Susan A. Everson-Rose, Mary Fran Sowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Objective: To test whether depressive symptoms are related to subsequent C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and/or whether CRP levels are related to subsequent depressive symptoms in mid-life women. Methods: Women enrolled in the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN) were followed for 7 years and had measures of CES-Depression scores and CRP seven times during the follow-up period. Women were pre- or early peri-menopausal at study entry and were of Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Japanese, or Chinese race/ethnicity. Analyses were restricted to initially healthy women. Results: Longitudinal mixed linear regression models adjusting for age, race, site, time between exams, and outcome variable at year X showed that higher CES-D scores predicted higher subsequent CRP levels and vice versa over a 7-year period. Full multivariate models adjusting for body mass index, physical activity, medications, health conditions, and other covariates showed that higher CRP levels at year X predicted higher CES-D scores at year X + 1, p = 0.03. Higher depressive symptoms predicted higher subsequent CRP levels at marginally significant levels, p = 0.10. Conclusions: Higher CRP levels led to higher subsequent depressive symptoms, albeit the effect was small. The study demonstrates the importance of considering bi-directional relationships for depression and other psychosocial factors and risk for heart disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-101
Number of pages6
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • C-reactive protein
  • Depression
  • Inflammation
  • Longitudinal
  • Menopause
  • Women

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