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Table 2 Relative risk of breast cancer in relation to experience of stress and adverse life events during the 5 years preceding entry to the study, Breakthrough Generations Study

From: Psychological stress, adverse life events and breast cancer incidence: a cohort investigation in 106,000 women in the United Kingdom

  Oestrogen-receptor status of breast cancer
  All cases Positive Negative
Factor No. of cases Adjusted RR (95 % CI)b No. of cases Adjusted RR (95 % CI)b No. of cases Adjusted RR (95 % CI)b
Frequency of experience of stress a
Never/occasionally 1112 1.00 871 1.00 161 1.00
Frequently 460 0.92 (0.83–1.03) 355 0.91 (0.81–1.04) 74 1.01 (0.77–1.34)
Continuously 86 0.92 (0.73–1.15) 70 0.96 (0.75–1.23) 9 0.70 (0.36–1.38)
   P trend = 0.15   P trend = 0.26   P trend = 0.55
Adverse life events b :
Death of husband/partner       
 No 1606 1.00 1255 1.00 236 1.00
 Yes 64 1.13 (0.88–1.46) 48 1.07 (0.80–1.44) 11 1.52 (0.82–2.82)
Death of child/parent or other close relative       
 No 1200 1.00 933 1.00 185 1.00
 Yes 470 0.87 (0.78–0.97) 370 0.88 (0.78–0.99) 62 0.76 (0.57–1.02)
Death of close friend       
 No 1390 1.00 1088 1.00 201 1.00
 Yes 280 0.94 (0.83–1.08) 215 0.91 (0.79–1.05) 46 1.16 (0.84–1.61)
Personal illness/injury
 No 1520 1.00 1189 1.00 221 1.00
 Yes 150 1.03 (0.87–1.22) 114 0.99 (0.82–1.21) 26 1.28 (0.85–1.93)
Loss of job       
 No 1534 1.00 1196 1.00 230 1.00
 Yes 136 1.09 (0.91–1.30) 107 1.09 (0.89–1.33) 17 0.94 (0.57–1.54)
Divorce/separation
 No 1541 1.00 1207 1.00 222 1.00
 Yes 129 1.15 (0.96–1.38) 96 1.09 (0.89–1.33) 25 1.54 (1.01–2.34)
Other stressful life event
 No 929 1.00 745 1.00 124 1.00
 Yes 741 0.95 (0.86–1.05) 558 0.90 (0.80–1.00) 123 1.17 (0.91–1.51)
Any of the above
 No 425 1.00 339 1.00 57 1.00
 Yes 1245 0.95 (0.85–1.06) 964 0.92 (0.81–1.04) 190 1.12 (0.83–1.52)
Number of events
 0 425 1.00 339 1.00 57 1.00
 1 714 0.97 (0.86–1.09) 560 0.95 (0.83–1.09) 107 1.10 (0.80–1.53)
 2 373 0.93 (0.81–1.07) 285 0.88 (0.75–1.03) 54 1.07 (0.73–1.55)
 ≥3 158 0.93 (0.77–1.12) 119 0.87 (0.70–1.07) 29 1.37 (0.87–2.16)
   P trend = 0.25   P trend = 0.050   P trend = 0.25
  1. RR relative risk, CI confidence interval
  2. aBased on 101,225 subjects
  3. bAnalyses adjusted for attained age, age at menarche, age at first birth and parity, cumulative duration of breast feeding, oral contraceptive use, postmenopausal hormone use, benign breast disease, BMI at age 20, postmenopausal BMI and time-updated menopausal status, height, physical activity, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, family history of breast cancer and socio-economic status