Anger, Hostility, and Hospitalizations in Patients With Heart Failure

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Objective: Heart failure patients have a high hospitalization rate, and anger and hostility are associated with coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality. Using structural equation modeling, this prospective study assessed the predictive validity of anger and hostility traits for cardiovascular and all-cause rehospitalizations in patients with heart failure. Method: 146 heart failure patients were administered the STAXI and Cook-Medley Hostility Inventory to measure anger, hostility, and their component traits. Hospitalizations were recorded for up to 3 years following baseline. Causes of hospitalizations were categorized as heart failure, total cardiac, noncardiac, and all-cause (sum of cardiac and noncardiac). Results: Measurement models were separately fit for Anger and Hostility, followed by a Confirmatory Factor Analysis to estimate the relationship between the Anger and Hostility constructs. An Anger model consisted of State Anger, Trait Anger, Anger Expression Out, and Anger Expression In, and a Hostility model included Cynicism, Hostile Affect, Aggressive Responding, and Hostile Attribution. The latent construct of Anger did not predict any of the hospitalization outcomes, but Hostility significantly predicted all-cause hospitalizations. Analyses of individual trait components of each of the 2 models indicated that Anger Expression Out predicted all-cause and noncardiac hospitalizations, and Trait Anger predicted noncardiac hospitalizations. None of the individual components of Hostility were related to rehospitalizations or death. Conclusion: The construct of Hostility and several components of Anger are predictive of hospitalizations that were not specific to cardiac causes. Mechanisms common to a variety of health problems, such as self-care and risky health behaviors, may be involved in these associations.

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