Anger Proneness Predicts Coronary Heart Disease Risk
Prospective Analysis From the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities (ARIC) Study
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Background—Increased research attention is being paid to the negative impact of anger on coronary heart disease (CHD).
Methods and Results—This study examined prospectively the association between trait anger and the risk of combined CHD (acute myocardial infarction [MI]/fatal CHD, silent MI, or cardiac revascularization procedures) and of “hard” events (acute MI/fatal CHD). Participants were 12 986 black and white men and women enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities study. In the entire cohort, individuals with high trait anger, compared with their low anger counterparts, were at increased risk of CHD in both event categories. The multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) (95% CI) was 1.54 (95% CI 1.10 to 2.16) for combined CHD and 1.75 (95% CI 1.17 to 2.64) for “hard” events. Heterogeneity of effect was observed by hypertensive status. Among normotensive individuals, the risk of combined CHD and of “hard” events increased monotonically with increasing levels of trait anger. The multivariate-adjusted HR of CHD for high versus low anger was 2.20 (95% CI 1.36 to 3.55) and for moderate versus low anger was 1.32 (95% CI 0.94 to 1.84). For “hard” events, the multivariate-adjusted HRs were 2.69 (95% CI 1.48 to 4.90) and 1.35 (95% CI 0.87 to 2.10), respectively. No statistically significant association between trait anger and incident CHD risk was observed among hypertensive individuals.
Conclusions—Proneness to anger places normotensive middle-aged men and women at significant risk for CHD morbidity and death independent of the established biological risk factors.
- Received August 18, 1999.
- Revision received November 20, 1999.
- Accepted December 1, 1999.
- Copyright © 2000 by American Heart Association