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Blood Lipids: A Shortcut From Hostility to Chd?

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The present article describes the associations between hostility and serum lipids in Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) patients. A sample of 212 male coronary patients was used of which 127 recently suffered a Myocardial Infarction (MI), and 85 had undergone either a Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) or a Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA). Total Cholesterol (TC), High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride concentrations were measured as well as four hostility factors: 'Negative Affectivity' (NA), 'Anger-In' (AI), 'Anger-Out' (AO) and Coping, i.e. behaviors to control feelings of anger and anxiety. The results indicated that the effects of hostility on lipids were mediated by various factors such as body weight in relation to body length (BMI), Socio-Economic Status (SES), Left Ventricle Ejection Fraction (LVEF) and Age. In subgroups of highly exhausted patients or of patients scoring high on the Type A Behavior Pattern (TABP), however, more direct (unilinear) associations between lipids and hostility were found. The findings of the present study confirm the rather weak association between hostility and blood lipids found elsewhere. Furthermore, a low level of triglycerides was consistently associated with low AO, be it again in interaction with BMI (AO × BMI), both in the group of non-MI patients and in the total sample for those patients who score high on vital exhaustion and/or TABP. This finding provides an extra argument against the popular notion of the healthfulness under all circumstances of anger expression. Until now the exact role of triglycerides as a function of anger/hostility has been under-explored. This issue merits further attention in future research.
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Keywords: Coronary artery disease; Hostility; Metabolic syndrome; Serum lipids; Triglycerides

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Clinical Psychology University of Nijmegen Montessorilaan 3 6500 HE Nijmegen The Netherlands

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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