Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Prof. Montgomery: Stress is thought to increase the risk of heart disease. However, an experience that is stressful for one person may not be so for another, as stress resilience varies. As we believe that stress resilience is influenced by childhood experiences, we examined whether teenagers with low stress resilience were more likely to have coronary heart disease in subsequent adulthood (they were followed to a maximum age of 58 years). In this study of 237,980 men, we found that low stress resilience in adolescence was associated with a raised risk of heart disease. A surprising result was that although higher levels of fitness in adolescence were associated with lower heart disease risk, the benefit of such fitness, in terms of heart disease risk, was not present in the men with low stress resilience.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Prof. Montgomery: Stress and stress resilience are involved in heart disease risk. Good physical fitness is always beneficial, but it may be necessary to tackle stress to gain the full benefits of fitness.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Prof. Montgomery: We have to continue to improve our understanding of the childhood determinants of low stress resilience.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Scott Montgomery (2015). Stress Reduces Cardiovascular Benefits of Exercise in Adolescence