Individual differences in hostility and habituation of cardiovascular reactivity to stress
Article first published online: 28 NOV 2006
Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Stress and Health
Volume 23, Issue 1, pages 37–42, February 2007
How to Cite
Hughes, B. M. (2007), Individual differences in hostility and habituation of cardiovascular reactivity to stress. Stress and Health, 23: 37–42. doi: 10.1002/smi.1117
- Issue published online: 26 JAN 2007
- Article first published online: 28 NOV 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 JUN 2006
- Manuscript Received: 20 FEB 2006
- cardiovascular reactivity;
- diastolic blood pressure;
It is well established that people with hostile interpersonal styles are at increased risk for coronary heart disease. One mechanism thought to underlie such links is cardiovascular reactivity (CVR) to stress. Despite the fact that laboratory studies have demonstrated links between hostility and CVR, questions remain as to the generalizability of such findings over time and to extra-laboratory settings. The present study sought to focus on the relationship between hostility and separate repeated measures of CVR, thereby capturing the potential for CVR to habituate. Ninety healthy adults (45 males, 45 females) underwent standardized CVR assessments. Participants were tested twice, allowing for scrutiny of habituation patterns. All participants provided assessments of hostility based on the Cook–Medley Hostility Scale, and were categorized as either high or low on hostility. As in previous research, hostility was found to exert significant influences on diastolic blood pressure but not on systolic blood pressure or heart rate. Revealing effects of hostility on CVR habituation were found. High-hostile participants exhibited substantial CVR habituation to stress, whereas low-hostile participants did not. The findings reveal influences of hostility on cardiovascular functioning that would not be captured in traditional laboratory research and may reveal psychosomatic pathways between hostility and disease not previously explored. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.