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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports, Volume 10, Issue 5, May 2016, Article number 20.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1007/s12170-016-0499-0. Copyright © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016


Understanding risk and protective factors that impact cardiovascular health is of utmost importance. There is ample evidence that cardiovascular health begins in childhood, tracks over time, and is subject to adverse social influences. This paper reviews key studies examining the relations of psychosocial factors in childhood to cardiovascular health in adulthood. The existing literature provides evidence for both individual and cumulative effects of childhood psychosocial factors on adult cardiovascular health across the population, although the specific mechanisms underlying these relationships are not yet fully understood. This paper also includes a discussion of evidence-based strategies for prevention and treatment of childhood psychosocial problems. The extent to which these programs lead to improved cardiovascular health in high-risk groups or across the population by impacting psychosocial factors has not yet been studied, but is a clear future direction for research and policy.

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