Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Stephen H. Boyle & John C. Barefoot & Redford B. Williams
Hostility is a multidimensional construct consisting of cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions. The cognitive dimension consists of cynicism and mistrust of others. The affective dimension includes feelings of anger, irritation, rage, contempt, resentment, and bitterness. The behavioral dimension includes various acts of physical and verbal aggression. Researchers are interested in the physiological correlates of hostility because several studies have shown that hostility is a significant risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). We will consider evidence regarding the associations of cognitive, affective, and behavioral components to physiology in turn. The precise mechanisms through which hostility confers risk for CHD are not known. One hypothesis suggests that repeated, exaggerated, and prolonged activation of the sympathetic nervous system and neuroendocrine components of the human stress response mediates the hostility-CHD relationship. This contributes to poor health in at least two ways. First, over time stress-induced hemodynamic changes (e.g., increased blood pressure, sheer stress, ...