Hostility and cardiovascular reactivity to stress in women and men.

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The relationship of Cook Medley hostility scores (Ho) to blood pressure and heart rate reactivity was examined in 56 women and 56 men. Stress was elicited by an unsolvable anagram task that was described as easily solvable. Both men and women scoring high on Ho had greater blood pressure responses to the task. Those scoring high on Ho also reported more anger in response to the tasks, but anger was not associated with blood pressure reactivity. It was concluded that situations evoking suspiciousness and mistrust rather than anger may be necessary to elicit increased blood pressure reactivity among high Ho subjects.

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