Persistent and fluctuating anxiety levels in the 18 months following acute myocardial infarction: The role of personality

H. Versteeg, A.M. Roest, J. Denollet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


To identify the varying courses of anxiety symptoms in the first 18 months after a myocardial infarction (MI) and to examine the importance of personality in determining elevated anxiety.
Four hundred eighty-six MI patients completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory during hospitalization and at 2-, 12- and 18-months post-MI. At baseline, patients also completed the DS14 Type D personality scale, Anxiety Sensitivity Index and Beck Depression Inventory, and clinical and sociodemographic information was collected.
Growth mixture modeling analysis identified four anxiety trajectories. The majority of patients reported stable anxiety scores over time, indicative of either persistent high (17%) or low (71%) anxiety. Patients in the other two smaller groups initially reported moderate levels of anxiety that fluctuated during follow-up. Type D personality [odds ratio (OR)=5.34; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.26–12.63], negative affectivity (OR=3.24; 95% CI: 1.29–8.14) and anxiety sensitivity (OR=3.35; 95% CI: 1.69–6.62) were the most prominent determinants of persistent high anxiety, independent of depression, sociodemographic and clinical factors.
The course of anxiety in the first 18 months after MI is relatively stable for the majority of patients. Patients with Type D personality, negative affectivity and anxiety sensitivity are at an increased risk for persisting elevated anxiety and should be identified and offered appropriate treatment.
Keywords: Myocardial infarction, Anxiety, Trajectories, Personality, Depression
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry: Psychiatry, Medicine and Primary Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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