Abstract: Sex Differences in the Relationship between Child Maltreatment, Recent Bereavement and Average Heart Rate (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

433P Sex Differences in the Relationship between Child Maltreatment, Recent Bereavement and Average Heart Rate

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Leia Saltzman, PhD, Assistant Professor, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Sarah Dow-Fleisner, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, BC, Canada
Background and Purpose. Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in adults in the United States. This risk is particularly compounded for women. In addition, trauma and loss have been linked with greater risk for cardiovascular events including myocardial infarction. Yet, the intersectionality of sex, trauma, and loss has not been examined empirically.  This study addresses this gap and explored the interaction of sex and bereavement on average heartrate in a sample of middle-aged adults. The study also compared the role of bereavement in adulthood with a history of child maltreatment in relation to cardiovascular functioning. Methods. The study used a secondary analysis of The Midlife and Development in the United States (MIDUS) biomarker project (n=1255) adults drawn from the larger nationally representative sample of the MIDUS survey. A series of OLS regression model were estimated. Models 1 and 2 were stratified by sex to examine sex differences in the impact of loss and child maltreatment on heartrate. Model 3 included the full sample, and finally model 4 included an interaction of sex and bereavement status.  Results. The experience of loss was a significant predictor of higher average heartrate in model 1(male only; b= 2.83, p< 0.005) and 3(full sample; b= 1.60, p< 0.05). Additionally, being a woman was associated with higher average heartrate in model 3 (b= 2.99, p< 0.001). In model 4 Male (b= 4.73, p< 0.001) and female (b= 2.51, p< 0.05) respondents who had experienced loss, as well as females who had not experienced loss (b= 3.83, p< 0.01), were more likely to report elevated average heartrate as comparted to males without recent loss. Historical reports of maltreatment were not significant predictors of heartrate in any of the four models. Conclusion and Implications. These results highlight three important finding; firstly, under both the loss and no-loss condition, females were more likely than males to report elevated average heartrate; secondly, both males and females who had experienced a recent loss were more likely than males without loss to report an elevated average heartrate. All forms of child maltreatment were non-significant predictors, even when the maltreatment being reported was severe in nature. This suggests that recent loss has a greater impact on heartrate than historical child maltreatment, particularly for female respondents. These findings have screening and treatment implications for both mental health practitioners and physicians.