Change in cardiovascular health among adults with current or past major depressive disorder enrolled in intensive smoking cessation treatment

Allison J. Carroll, Mark D. Huffman, E. Paul Wileyto, Sadiya S. Khan, Erica Fox, Justin D. Smith, Anna Marika Bauer, Frank T. Leone, Robert A. Schnoll, Brian Hitsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Elevated depressive symptoms and cigarette smoking are independently associated with poorer cardiovascular health (CVH), but it is unknown whether their treatment can synergistically improve CVH. We sought to characterize CVH of adults with comorbid depression and smoking and examine changes in CVH associated with changes in smoking and depression. Methods: Participants (N = 300, 55 % women) were adult smokers (≥ 1 cigarette/day) with lifetime major depressive disorder enrolled in a 12-week intervention trial targeting depression and smoking. Multiple linear regression examined prospective associations between changes in depression (Beck Depression Inventory-II), smoking (past 24-hour cigarettes or smoking abstinence), and modified CVH score (per American Heart Association, excluding smoking: diet, physical activity, body mass index, blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure). Results: Baseline mean CVH score was 5.87/12 points (SD = 2.13). No participants met “ideal” on all CVH components (blood glucose: 48 %, cholesterol: 46 %, physical activity: 38 %, body mass index: 24 %, blood pressure: 22 %, diet: 3 %). CVH scores did not change from baseline to end-of-treatment (M = 0.18 points, SD = 1.36, p = .177), nor did change in depression × smoking predict change in CVH (p = .978). However, greater reductions in depression were significantly associated with greater improvements in CVH (β = −0.04, SE = 0.01, p = .015). Limitations: This study was limited by a short follow-up period, missing blood glucose and cholesterol data, and treatment-seeking smokers. Conclusions: Adults with comorbid depression and smoking had poor CVH. Although integrated treatment for depression and smoking improved both conditions, only reductions in depression were associated with improvements in CVH. These findings have implications for integrating psychosocial treatment into CVH promotion efforts. Registration: NCT02378714 (

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-534
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of affective disorders
StatePublished - Jul 15 2023


  • Behavioral activation
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression
  • Smoking
  • Smoking cessation


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