Objective: We sought to determine the contribution of psychological variables to risk for metabolic syndrome (MetS) among Latinos enrolled in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), and to investigate whether social support moderates these associations, and whether inflammatory markers mediate the association between psychological variables and MetS. Research design and methods: Cross-sectional analyses at study baseline were conducted with a national Latino cohort (n = 1,388) that included Mexican Americans, Dominican Americans, Puerto Rican Americans and Central/South Americans. Hierarchical logistic regression analyses were conducted to test the effects of psychosocial variables (chronic stress, depressive symptoms, and social support) on MetS. In addition, separate subgroup-specific models, controlling for nationality, age, gender, socioeconomic position, language spoken at home, exercise, smoking and drinking status, and testing for the effects of chronic stress, depressive symptoms and inflammation (IL-6, CRP, fibrinogen) in predicting risk for MetS were conducted. Results: In the overall sample, high chronic stress independently predicted risk for MetS, however this association was found to be significant only in Mexican Americans and Puerto Rican Americans. Social support did not moderate the associations between chronic stress and MetS for any group. Chronic stress was not associated with inflammatory markers in either the overall sample or in each group. Conclusions: Our results suggest a differential contribution of chronic stress to the prevalence of MetS by national groups.
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