HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Singapore or Virtually from your home or work.

3rd Edition of

International Public Health Conference

March 21-23, 2024 | Singapore

IPHC 2023

Byeong Geun Choi

Speaker at International Public Health Conference 2023 - Byeong Geun Choi
Kangwon National University, Korea, Republic of

Title : Psychosocial distress and inflammation: A cross-sectional and bidirectional analysis of a large population-based study


Background: Low-grade inflammation induces metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Psychosocial stress has previously been linked to inflammation, but whether psychosocial distress induces inflammation or inflammation induces psychosocial distress remains unclear. This study evaluated the cross-sectional association between psychosocial distress and inflammation and vice versa.

Methods: This population-based study used data from the Health Examinees study (HEXA) that prospectively recruited 173,357 participants aged 40 years and above between 2004 and 2013 at 38 health examination centers and training hospitals located in eight regions in Korea. A total of 122,087 participants were included in this analysis. The inflammatory marker hsCRP and psychosocial distress measured by Psychological Well-being Index (PWI) scores.

Results: The mean hsCRP was 0.71±2.27mg/L and the mean PWI score was 15.8±7.4. Participants with higher PWI scores had higher hsCRP levels (p linearity <0.001), a higher risk of high hsCRP (hsCRP>1.0 mg/L (Ptrend =0.008 and 0.028 in men and women, respectively) and clinically elevated hsCRP (hsCRP>3.0 mg/L (Ptrend =0.031 and <0.001 in men and women, respectively)). On the other hand, increasing hsCRP levels predicted severe psychosocial distress (PWI≥27) in men (Ptrend =0.027).

Conclusion: A composite measure of psychological well-being or distress is bidirectionally associated with chronic low-grade inflammation. These findings warrant longitudinal studies to confirm the true direction of association. Studies that use other markers of inflammation are also needed.

Audience take Away:

Explain how the audience will be able to use what they learn?

This study provides important information about the two-way relationship between psychosocial distress and chronic low-grade inflammation. The findings could be useful in identifying individuals at risk of developing related conditions and informing interventions to reduce psychosocial distress and associated health risks. Longitudinal studies and other markers of inflammation are needed to confirm the direction of the association..

How will this help the audience in their job?

The study provides valuable information to public health professionals to identify patients at risk of chronic low-grade inflammation and associated health outcomes. Healthcare professionals can use the study findings to design interventions that reduce psychosocial distress and inflammation, such as stress management programs, mental health services, dietary changes, and physical activity. Lastly, the study can help healthcare professionals educate their patients on the importance of maintaining good mental health and adopting a healthy lifestyle to improve their overall well-being.

Is this research that other faculty could use to expand their research or teaching?

The research can be valuable for faculty members in public health, psychology, medicine, and other related disciplines, as it suggests a bidirectional association between psychosocial distress and chronic low-grade inflammation. The large population-based sample and methodology used in this study, including the use of the PWI and hsCRP as measures, can serve as a reference and be applied to future studies in similar fields.

Will it improve the accuracy of a design, or provide new information to assist in a design problem?

This study provides valuable information for researchers who are interested in investigating the bidirectional relationship between psychosocial distress and chronic low-grade inflammation. The findings can inform the development of research questions, study design, and methods, and help researchers choose appropriate inflammatory markers and psychosocial distress measures. The study emphasizes the need for longitudinal studies to establish causality and the importance of considering other markers of inflammation. Overall, this study can be used to improve the accuracy and validity of research design in this field of study.


Byeong-Geun Choi received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Hallym University. He completed his candidate Master's degree program in Mathematics Education at Kangwon National University. Currently, he is pursuing a Master's degree in Big Data Medical Convergence at the same university. Since 2021, he has been conducting research related to preventive medicine, chronic disease epidemiology, and medical statistics in Professor Sang-Ah Lee's lab at Kangwon National University. His research interests include prediction models using machine learning and genomics.