Background: The present analyses investigated possible pathways for earlier reported associations in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study between hostility and coronary and carotid end points.
Methods: The cross-sectional design recruited 535 women and 491 men with average familial risk for coronary heart disease and 1950 women and 1667 men with high familial coronary risk from 3 prospective ongoing studies at 4 sites. Recruitment of high-risk participants was based on family risk score. Average-risk participants came from a randomly selected group. Outcome measures were plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1), homocysteine, fibrinogen, fasting glucose, blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and "lipid metabolic disorder" (LMD) (defined as systolic blood pressure >/=140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure >/=90 mm Hg); fasting glucose >/=126 mg/dL (>/=7.0 mmol/L) or the use of diabetes medications; body mass index (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters) >/=30; triglycerides >/=250 mg/dL (>/=2.8 mmol/L), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol <40 mg/dL (<1.0 mmol/L) in men and <50 mg/dL (<1.3 mmol/L) in women; and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level >/=130 mg/dL (>/=3.4 mmol/L).
Results: After adjustment for age and risk-related behaviors, hostility was significantly associated with glucose level and LMD in high-risk women, with LMD in average-risk women, with PAI-1 and LMD in high-risk men, and with fibrinogen level in average-risk men.
Conclusions: Associations between hostility and physiological risk were only partially accounted for by health behaviors, suggesting that further investigation of mechanistic pathways is warranted.