Assessing Personality Factors in Essential Hypertension with a Brief Self-Report Instrument*

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Abstract

A 16-item self-report instrument was designed and cross-validated, comparing essential hypertensives with normotensives. After item selection using two sets of standardization groups, scores obtained from three additional sets of hypertensive and normotensive groups were significantly different. The scores were not significantly related to variables such as age, sex, socioeconomic status, hypochondriasis, social desirability or target organ involvement. The instrument's factorial structure for hypertensives consisted of factors labeled anger arousal, resentment, anxiety, and attention seeking. Hypertensives reported higher levels of hostility and anxiety than normotensives. High and low scoring subgroups on the instrument were examined on the 16 PF, with hypertensive high scorers demonstrating a different profile than low scoring hypertensives. The existence of two psychological types of essential hypertensives was suggested.

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