Hostility, Anger, Aggressiveness, and Coronary Heart Disease: An Interpersonal Perspective on Personality, Emotion, and Health



Abstract The related traits of hostility, anger, and aggressiveness have long been suggested as risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD). Our prior review of this literature (Smith, 1992) found both considerable evidence in support of this hypothesis and important limitations that precluded firm conclusions. In the present review, we discuss recent research on the assessment of these traits, their association with CHD and longevity, and mechanisms possibly underlying the association. In doing so, we illustrate the value of the interpersonal tradition in personality psychology (Sullivan, 1953; Leary, 1957; Carson, 1969; Kiesler, 1996) for not only research on the health consequences of hostility, anger, and aggressiveness, but also for the general study of the effects of emotion, personality and other psychosocial characteristics on physical health.