Correlations between vital exhaustion, depression, and general health of cardiac patients
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Background: Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of people in the United States. Vital exhaustion, depression, and levels of general health have all been shown to be independently associated with cardiovascular disease. Vital exhaustion is characterized as the more physical symptoms of depression, including unusual fatigue, burnout, unusual lack of energy, irritability, hopelessness, and loss of libido, but often without feelings of depression. It is frequently studied in European populations. The distinction of depression and vital exhaustion as independent constructs is debated in the literature. Aims: This study examined correlations between demographic risk factors, depression, vital exhaustion, and general health in a heterogeneous sample of American cardiac patients. Methods: Bivariate correlations and multiple regressions examined relationships between these variables, and the mediation effects of depression on vital exhaustion in health. This study also examined depression and vital exhaustion as continuous vs. categorical variables. Results: Results showed that vital exhaustion remained an independent predictor of self-reported general health, after accounting for the effects of demographic risk factors and depression. Similar results were found in a community control sample. Conclusions: In these samples, depression accounted for only part of the relationship between vital exhaustion and general health. Vital exhaustion remained an independent predictor, after controlling for demographics, other cardiac risk factors, and depression. Similar results found in a control sample indicate that this relationship is not cardiovascular disease-dependent.