The present study examined the independent relationships between dimensions of hostility and cardiovascular responses to a laboratory task with and without harassment. Fifty-three males, aged 18 to 26, with a negative parental history of cardiovascular disease were selected on the basis of their scores on the Cook and Medley Hostility (Ho) scale (greater than 24 or less than 14). Factor-analysis of six separate measures of hostility/anger resulted in a two-factor solution; Factor 1 representing antagonistic hostility and Factor 2 representing neurotic hostility. Results showed that high factor scores on antagonistic hostility were significantly associated with greater systolic blood pressure (SBP) and forearm blood flow (FBF) changes and poorer SBP recovery to harassment. In addition, high factor scores on neurotic hostility significantly predicted greater FBF changes to harassment. Additional correlational analysis showed that cardiovascular responses were positively associated with self-reported negative affects but only for subjects with high scores on either dimension. These results are in agreement with recent evidence suggesting that only antagonistic hostility may be related to increased severity of coronary artery disease and that the degree of interpersonal conflict moderates the association between coronary-prone behaviors and cardiovascular responses.
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