Anger, anxiety, and depression as risk factors for cardiovascular disease: the problems and implications of overlapping affective dispositions

Psychol Bull. 2005 Mar;131(2):260-300. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.131.2.260.


Several recent reviews have identified 3 affective dispositions--depression, anxiety, and anger-hostility--as putative risk factors for coronary heart disease. There are, however, mixed and negative results. Following a critical summary of epidemiological findings, the present article discusses the construct and measurement overlap among the 3 negative affects. Recognition of the overlap necessitates the development of more complex affect-disease models and has implications for the interpretation of prior studies, statistical analyses, prevention, and intervention in health psychology and behavioral medicine. The overlap among the 3 negative dispositions also leaves open the possibility that a general disposition toward negative affectivity may be more important for disease risk than any specific negative affect.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Anger*
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Coronary Disease / psychology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors