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The association of affective, behavioral, and cognitive components of hostility with telomere length, a marker of biological aging

Carroll, Judith E (2010) The association of affective, behavioral, and cognitive components of hostility with telomere length, a marker of biological aging. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Variability within species in the rate of biological aging and noticeable differences in susceptibility to diseases of aging suggest ecological factors, such as trait characteristics, may contribute to individual vulnerability. In this regard, some evidence shows a relationship between hostile tendencies and risk for the most prevalent disease of aging, coronary heart disease (CHD). One plausible pathway through which hostility may increase risk for such age-related disease is through premature cellular aging. Recent evidence suggests that the length of telomeres in cells provides a biomarker of biological aging that predicts all-cause mortality and coronary disease morbidity and mortality. The present study examined associations of hostile temperaments with telomere length in a sample of African American (n = 35) and European American (n = 160) men (aged 40-70 years) at increased risk for CHD by virtue of their hypertensive status. In addition, the moderation of this association by race and age was also explored. Results showed no significant associations of hostile affects, behaviors, or cognitions, as measured by the Cook-Medley Hostility (CMH) scale and the Speilberger State Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI), and telomere length. Although race did not moderate any associations between hostility and telomere length, there was a trend towards significant interactions of age with hostile cognitions (β = .87, p = .06), CMH hostile affect (β = .91, p = .057), and STAXI anger-in (β = 1.01, p = .07) in the prediction of telomere length, suggesting an inverse association of hostility with telomere length among younger subjects (40's), which may contribute to increased risk for diseases of aging in this age group. In contrast, older subjects (60's) showed a positive association of hostility with telomere length. In addition, across the whole sample, there was a significant positive association of years of education with telomere length (r = .15, p < .05). This association was independent of a number of demographic and health covariates among European Americans, but not African Americans, suggesting that among European American males with hypertension, those with fewer years of education show greater cellular aging. In contrast, hostility may be protective among older hypertensives.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Carroll, Judith Ejec51@pitt.eduJEC51
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMarsland, Anna Lmarsland@pitt.eduMARSLAND
Committee MemberCheong, JeeWonjcheong@pitt.eduJCHEONG
Committee MemberMatthews, Karenmatthewska@upmc.eduXYOO
Committee MemberFerrell, Robertrferrell@pitt.eduRFERRELL
Committee MemberManuck, Stephen Bmanuck@pitt.eduMANUCK
Date: 28 September 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 17 May 2010
Approval Date: 28 September 2010
Submission Date: 14 June 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aging; Biological Age; Cardiovascular Disease; Psychosocial Risk; Telomere Length; Anger; Hostility
Other ID:, etd-06142010-162027
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:47
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:36


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