Childhood maltreatment has been associated with arterial stiffness. This relationship has not been examined specifically among women at midlife, a time of increased arterial stiffness in women. This study tested whether childhood maltreatment is associated with arterial stiffness among a cohort of midlife women.
Methods and Results
A total of 162 nonsmoking perimenopausal and postmenopausal women free of clinical cardiovascular disease (mean age, 54 years; 72% White race, 23% Black race, and 5% Asian/Pacific Islander or Mixed race) completed the Child Trauma Questionnaire at baseline. At a follow‐up visit 5 years later, blood pressure and carotid‐femoral pulse wave velocity (a measure of arterial stiffness) were assessed. Relationships between childhood maltreatment and carotid‐femoral pulse wave velocity were tested in linear regression models, adjusting for time between visits, age, race and ethnicity, education, body mass index, heart rate, hypertension medication, and diastolic blood pressure. Seventy‐one women (44% of the sample) met criteria for a history of childhood maltreatment. Women with a history of childhood maltreatment had higher carotid‐femoral pulse wave velocity (B [SE]=0.47 [0.21]; P=0.03) than women without this history, controlling for time between visits, age, race and ethnicity, education, body mass index, heart rate, hypertension medication, and diastolic blood pressure.
Among these midlife women, childhood maltreatment was associated with arterial stiffness, highlighting the potential long‐term cardiovascular implications of childhood maltreatment.