A longitudinal study has found that hopelessness and depression are each predictors of coronary heart disease (CHD). When adjusted for level of depression, hopelessness was an independent predictor of CHD. However, when adjusted for level of hopelessness, depression was not an independent predictor of CHD.
This study was the first of its kind to explore depression and hopelessness as individual predictors as long as 18 years out.
Hopelessness occurs often in severe depression, but it is not recognized as a symptom of depression in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Hopelessness, therefore, might be distinct from depression in its associations with CHD.
Researchers suggested future studies to investigate whether reducing hopelessness, compared with reducing depressive symptoms, would lead to fewer incidents of heart attack.
Coronary heart disease including heart attack is the leading cause of death worldwide. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2030, depression and CHD will rank globally as two of the three most disabling conditions, surpassed only by HIV/AIDS.
Possell, P., Mitchell, A.M., Ronkainen, K., Kaplan, G.A., Kuahanen, J. (2015). Do depressive symptoms predict the incidence of myocardial infarction independent of hopelessness? Journal of Health Psychology, 20(1), 60-68. doi.10.1177/1359105313498109
Link to Article: http://hpq.sagepub.com/content/20/1/60.abstract