• anxiety;
  • depression;
  • blood pressure;
  • hypotension


Extreme blood pressure (BP) values are associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression, but findings from studies are conflicting. The present study tested linear and curvilinear models of the association between anxiety and depression symptoms and BP in the Health and Retirement Study. The relationship between anxiety and depressive symptoms and pulse was also tested.


Participants were aged 50 to 104 (N = 4179) and completed the Health and Retirement Study Psychosocial Questionnaire and Physical Measurements in 2006. BP and pulse were measured using an automated cuff. The means of three BP and pulse measurements taken 45 to 60 s apart were used. Depressive and anxiety symptoms were measured with brief forms of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale and Beck Anxiety Inventory.


Ordinal regression analyses examined the relationship between BP and anxiety and depressive symptoms. In models adjusted for medical illness and medications, anxiety was associated with systolic hypotension, and depression was associated with diastolic hypotension. Higher pulse was associated with depression but not anxiety.


Findings suggest that BP dysregulation, specifically hypotension, may be a useful indicator of anxiety and depression. Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.