Relationship of cynical hostility and PTSD among Vietnam veterans



The personality construct of cynical hostility, as measured by the Cook-Medley scale (an MMPI subscale), has been implicated as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A literature review suggests that Vietnam veterans exhibit many cynical hostility-like characteristics. We examined the association between Cook-Medley scores and PTSD among Vietnam and other-era veterans. Study 1 involved analyses of data from 1293 MMPIs administered at Department of Veterans Affairs in Honolulu between 1986–1991. Cook-Medley scores were highly correlated with MMPI PTSD scores, and Vietnam Era veterans obtained higher scores than veterans from other eras. In Study 2, twenty nine Vietnam veterans with PTSD disability ratings obtained very high Cook-Medley scores which were higher than Vietnam Era veterans without rated PTSD. Findings indicate that the cynical hostility literature has considerable relevance for study of PTSD and suggest that PTSD veterans may have heightened risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Several directions for future research are suggested.