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autonomic nervous system, biomarker, cardiovascular, minority, poverty, women



  1. Symes, Lene PhD, RN
  2. McFarlane, Judith DrPH, RN, FAAN
  3. Frazier, Lorraine PhD, RN, FAAN
  4. Henderson-Everhardus, Maria C. MS, RN, CVN, RVT, APRN-BC
  5. McGlory, Gayle PhD, RN-BC
  6. Watson, Kathleen Bachtel PhD
  7. Liu, Yan MS
  8. Rhodes, Charles E. BS
  9. Hoogeveen, Ron Cornelis PhD


A history of intimate partner violence (IPV) is linked to cardiovascular disorders among women. Static autonomic nervous system (ANS) imbalance may result from chronic stress associated with exposure to IPV. Autonomic nervous system imbalance is associated with an excessive proinflammatory response that may increase the risk for inflammatory diseases, including atherosclerosis. To better understand the process from IPV to poorer health outcomes in women diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) we developed and tested a biobehavioral model of the psychological and biological pathway from IPV to chronic illness. We hypothesized that among women hospitalized for ACS, those who reported sexual abuse, with or without physical abuse, would have greater alterations in their serum levels of neuroendocrine markers, proinflammatory cytokines, and cell adhesion molecules and a chemotactic cytokine, at time of hospitalization for ACS, and 3 and 6 months later, than do women with physical abuse only. Participants were 45 women, primarily African American, admitted to a county hospital with a diagnosis of ACS. We evaluated 11 biomarkers and found a moderate group effect size for vascular cell adhesion molecule-1. All others had a small effect size.