Trait anger and arterial stiffness: results from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study

Prev Cardiol. Winter 2006;9(1):14-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1520-037x.2006.1610.x.


The cross-sectional association between trait anger and stiffness of the left common carotid artery was examined in 10,285 black or white men or women, 48-67 years of age, from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study cohort. Trait anger was assessed using the 10-item Spielberger Trait Anger Scale. Arterial stiffness was assessed by pulsatile arterial diameter change (PADC) derived from echo-tracking ultrasound methods; the smaller the PADC, the stiffer the common carotid artery. In men, trait anger was significantly associated with PADC, independent of the established cardiovascular disease risk factors (p=0.04). PADC decreased from the first (lowest anger group) to the second quintile of anger, but there was no progressive decrease thereafter. Also observed was a 13-microm (95% confidence interval [CI], 1-25) difference in the magnitude of PADC from the lowest to the uppermost quintile of anger (PADC [standard error], 421 [4] microm vs. 408 [5] microm). In women, the association was marginally significant (p=0.07). The low-high difference in the magnitude of PADC (PADC [standard error], 397 [3] microm vs. 406 [4] microm) was inverse (-9 microm 95% CI, -19 to 2). Conclusions indicate that very high trait anger is associated with arterial stiffness in men.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anger*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / epidemiology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / pathology*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / physiopathology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / psychology
  • Carotid Artery, Common / pathology*
  • Carotid Artery, Common / physiopathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • United States / epidemiology