African-Americans with major depressive symptoms — perceived stress, neuroticism, life dissatisfaction — had almost twice the increased risk of stroke and coronary heart disease, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Quality and Outcomes.

While depression is recognized as a consequence of stroke and coronary heart disease, a common term for the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries that could lead to heart attack, most studies have been conducted in white populations.

In this study, researchers used data from the Jackson Heart Study, a community-based study of African Americans in Jackson, Mississippi, that probed risk factors for heart disease. This analysis included 3,309 participants, ages 21 to 94, who completed at least 16 of 20 questions used to screen for depression. Those with a history of stroke or heart disease were excluded.

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