Meyer, Gregory J; Katko, Nicholas J; Mihura, Joni L; Klag, Michael J; Meoni, Lucy A
We evaluated the utility of an integrative, multimethod approach for assessing hostility-related constructs to predict premature cardiovascular disease (CVD) and premature coronary heart disease (CHD) using participants from the Johns Hopkins Precursors Study, which was designed to identify risk factors for heart disease. Participants were assessed at baseline while in medical school from 1946 to 1962 (M age = 24.6) and have been followed annually since then. Baseline assessment included individually administered Rorschach protocols (N = 416) scored for aggressive imagery (i.e., Aggressive Content, Aggressive Past) and self-reports of 3 possible anger responses to stress. Cox regression analyses predicting morbidity or mortality by age 55 revealed a significant interaction effect; high levels of Aggressive Content with high self-reported hostility predicted an increased rate of premature CVD and CHD, and incrementally predicted the rate of these events after controlling for the significant covariates of smoking (CVD and CHD) and cholesterol (CHD) that were also assessed at baseline. The hostility and anger measures, as well as other baseline covariates, were not predictors of CVD risk factors assessed at midlife during follow-up. Overall, this integrative model of hostility illustrates the potential value of multimethod assessment to areas of health psychology and preventive medicine.