Objective: The purpose of this study is to investigate the long- term effects of participation in a cardiovascular screening program and of dietary counseling on self-reported psychosocial outcomes and health concerns.
Methods: High-risk subjects (n=563) with hyperlipidemia from the Oslo Diet and Antismoking Study (1972–1977) were reexamined after 25 years and randomly assigned to a new 3-year prospective 2×2 factorial placebo- controlled study in 1997 of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and/or dietary counseling. Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Life Satisfaction Index (LSI), and a new questionnaire on health concerns and behavior in response to risk information were collected at the 25-year follow-up. Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and LSI were evaluated at the end of the 3-year Diet and Omega-3 Intervention Trial on atherosclerosis (DOIT) in 505 subjects.
Results: Twenty-five years after the screening program, HADS-anxiety was similar to the Norwegian norms (3.3 vs. 3.5), while HADS-depression was significantly lower (3.6 vs. 4.1, Pb.01). Patients reported that 25 years of awareness of hyperlipidemia had influenced health concerns through a moderate change in diet habits, some restriction in life conduct, but an improvement of the total life situation. After a novel 3-year intervention in DOIT, there was no difference between the dietary counseling and control group with regard to anxiety, depression, or life satisfaction, but HADS-anxiety increased significantly (4.0 vs. 3.3, Pb.001) in both groups.
Conclusion: Compared to the general population, screening-positive subjects did not have increased mental distress 25 years after screening, and beneficial health behavior persisted. Dietary counseling did not affect psychosocial outcomes.