By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

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HOUSTON — African-American women at risk for heart disease face more loneliness than white women, a new study suggests.

The findings, released Tuesday as part of a nursing symposium at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2017, showed that black women were about twice as likely to report loneliness.

“African-American women at risk for cardiovascular disease have unique predictors of loneliness — financial stress and subjective social status — as compared to non-Hispanic white women,” said Karen Saban, R.N., Ph.D., associate professor and associate dean for research at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing in Maywood, Illinois.

To study the influence of social disadvantage on loneliness, researchers recruited 50 African-American and 49 non-Hispanic white postmenopausal women with at least two risk factors for heart disease.

The women completed written standardized questionnaires on loneliness, depression symptoms, financial stress, social support and resilience. Women were also asked about their subjective social status, which is defined as a person’s sense of place on the social ladder, considering socioeconomic status and social position.

In addition to increased loneliness, researchers found black women were also almost three times as likely to report financial stress, about two and a half times more likely to report perceived lower social status, and had less reliable social support.

Among white women, only symptoms of depression and social integration uniquely predicted loneliness, said Saban, who is also a health scientist and researcher at the Center of Innovation for Complex Chronic Healthcare at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Illinois.

Previous research has indicated that loneliness increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and poor health outcomes.