Hostility, Risk of Coronary Heart Disease, and Mortality

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Level of hostility (Ho) was assessed by a 50-item subscale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory at the initial examination of 1877 employed middle-aged men who were free of coronary heart disease (CHD). Ten-year incidence of major CHD events (myocardial infarction and CHD death) was lowest in the first quintile of the Ho scale's distribution, highest in the middle quintile, and intermediate in the other three quintiles. After adjustment for age, blood pressure, serum cholesterol level, cigarette smoking, and intake of ethanol, the relative odds of a major CHD event was 0.68 for men with Ho scores less than or equal to 10 points in comparison to men with higher scores. The Ho scale was positively associated with crude 20-year mortality from CHD, malignant neoplasms, and causes other than cardiovascular—renal diseases and malignant neoplasms. After adjustment for the risk factors listed above, the Ho scale had a statistically significant, positive, monotonic association with 20-year risk of death from all causes combined. A difference of 23 points on the Ho scale, i.e., the difference between the means of the first and the fifth quintiles, was associated with a 42% increase in the risk of death. These results support the previous findings of Williams et al. with respect to the Ho scale and coronary atherosclerosis, and also suggest that the Ho scale may be associated with factors having broad effects on survival.

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