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Do Cardiovascular and Neuroendocrine Measures Mediate the Association between Trait Hostility and the Metabolic Syndrome?

Thomas, Mark (2017) Do Cardiovascular and Neuroendocrine Measures Mediate the Association between Trait Hostility and the Metabolic Syndrome? Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Objective: A consistent body of evidence links trait hostility with the metabolic syndrome (MS), a clustering of cardiometabolic risk factors. Previous research has suggested a three-factor solution for trait hostility involving cognitive, affective, and behavioral components, however, few studies have assessed which component is most important in the prediction of health outcomes. The mechanisms linking hostility with metabolic syndrome are also relatively unexplored, although biological pathways have been implicated. The purpose of this study is to address each of these two gaps in the existing literature. Methods: Four hundred and ninety-three adults from a community sample completed trait hostility questionnaires. Participants collected biological samples and wore ambulatory devices during a four-day monitoring period. Results: Contrary to prior work, we failed to show a three-factor solution using hostility questionnaire subscales. Exploratory factor analyses yielded a revised 4-factor solution using 21 items of the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ), a multidimensional hostility questionnaire. Path analyses adjusted for demographic variates demonstrated that Physical Aggression (b = .019, 95% CI [.005 to .033], p = .041) was significantly associated with the standardized MS (zMS) but not dichotomous MS (diMS). This association became non-significant when controlling for lifestyle variables and BMI. Interaction tests reveal that these results may be limited to women. No associations emerged between Verbal Aggression, Hostility, or Anger. Standardized, aggregated lifestyle variables but not psychophysiological markers significantly mediated the four BPAQ subscales and MS outcomes. Conclusions: The original factor solution may have failed to replicate because this is the first known attempt to exhibit a hostility factor solution in a healthy, community adult sample. Physical aggression in healthy women may be associated with an increased risk for the metabolic syndrome, although further research is necessary to understand this relationship. Our findings advance the field by showing that aggregated lifestyle behaviors but not psychophysiological reactivity markers may mediate the association between hostility and MS. Future research may assess the relationship between the hostility components to other health outcomes (e.g., IMT, mortality) and other mediation effects (e.g., social support).


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thomas, Markmct22@pitt.edumct22
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKamarck,
Committee MemberWright,
Committee MemberMatthews,
Date: 15 June 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 6 December 2016
Approval Date: 15 June 2017
Submission Date: 31 January 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 72
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: hostility, metabolic syndrome, health behaviors, psychophysiological reactivity, Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ)
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2017 00:19
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2017 00:19


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