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The Association Between Self-Reported Major Life Events and the Presence of Uterine Fibroids

  • Anissa I. Vines
    Correspondence
    Correspondence to: Anissa I. Vines, MS, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 266 Rosenau Hall, CB#7435, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7435. Phone: 919-843-1210; fax: 919-966-7457.
    Affiliations
    Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Myduc Ta
    Affiliations
    Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  • Denise A. Esserman
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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      Abstract

      Purpose

      Uterine fibroids are the most common benign tumors in reproductive-age women. Factors associated with this condition such as psychosocial stress are still being elucidated. This paper explores the association between major life events (MLE) stress and fibroids.

      Methods

      Prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were used to determine the association between MLE stress (number of events and stress intensity) and fibroids in 556 Black and 373 White women in the Uterine Fibroid Study, 1996–1999.

      Main Findings

      Fibroids were prevalent in 74% and 50% of the Black and White women, respectively. The mean number of MLE reported by each race group was two. Among White women, the PR for those who reported at least one event compared with those with no events were significant after adjusting for age and study identified fibroid risk factors (PR [1 and 2 events], 1.7; 95% CI, 1.2–2.5), (PR [3 events], 1.9; 95% CI, 1.3–2.7), and (PR [4 events], 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0–2.1), respectively. At all levels of stress compared with no events, significant associations with fibroids were found among White women. For Black Women, the PR for fibroids was only significant in the high stress group compared with those without an experienced event, after adjusting for fibroid risk factors (PR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.1–1.4).

      Conclusion

      Examining the number and stress intensity of MLE enriched our understanding of this stressor and fibroids. Further research is needed to understand the role of stress on fibroids among women.
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      Biography

      Anissa I. Vines, MS, PhD, is a psychosocial epidemiologist with interests in chronic diseases among women and racial/ethnic health disparities.

      Biography

      Myduc Ta, PhD, is an epidemiologist with interests in the social determinants of health and injury prevention.

      Biography

      Denise Esserman, PhD, is a biostatistician whose interests include survival analysis and mixed models.