Background: Despite the well-known impact of baseline hostility and anger on subsequent cardiovascular mortality, few studies have tested whether predictive role of hostility and anger on mortality varies as a function of race and gender.
Objectives: Current study explored role of race and gender in modifying the effects of baseline hostility and anger on cardiovascular mortality in a nationally representative sample in U.S.
Materials and Methods: We used data from the Americans’ changing lives study, a nationally representative longitudinal cohort of U.S. adults. The study followed 1,593 Blacks or Whites for 10 years from 2001 to 2011. Independent variables were baseline hostility and anger (anger in, and anger out), measured at 2001, using 4 item Cook-Medley cynical hostility scale and Spielberger Anger Expression scales, respectively. Dependent variable was time to death due to cardiovascular disease since 2001. Covariates were baseline socio-demographics (age and education), behaviors (smoking and drinking), and health (number of chronic medical conditions, self-rated health, and depressive symptoms) measured at 2001. We used Cox proportional hazard models in the pooled sample and specific to race, in the absence and presence of health variables.
Results: In the pooled sample, baseline hostility and anger out predicted cardiovascular mortality in the next 10 years. We found significant interactions between race and baseline hostility and anger in on cardiovascular mortality, suggesting that these associations are stronger for Whites than Blacks. Race did not interact with baseline anger out on cardiovascular mortality. Gender also did not have any interactions with baseline hostility, anger in, or anger out on cardiovascular mortality.
Conclusions: Hostility and anger in better predict cardiovascular mortality among Blacks than Whites in the United States. Black – White difference in the associations of hostility and anger with cardiovascular mortality suggest these factors may have some role in shaping health disparities across racial groups.