Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 168-173

First online:

Measures of hostility as predictors of facial affect during social interaction: Evidence for construct validity

  • Beverly H. BrummettAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center
  • , Kimberly E. MaynardAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center
  • , Michael A. BabyakAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center
  • , Thomas L. HaneyAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center
  • , Ilene C. SieglerAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center
  • , Michael J. HelmsAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center
  • , John C. BarefootAffiliated withDuke University Medical Center

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We assessed the construct validity of several self-report measures and an interview-based measure of hostility (Interpersonal Hostility Assessment Technique [IHAT]) by evaluating their associations with a behavioral indicator of hostile emotions (facial expressions during social interaction). Participants in the study were 123 volunteers (44% males and 56% females) who were recruited from local community organizations. Self-report measures (Cook-Medley Hostility Scale, Rotter Interpersonal Trust Scale, Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory, and Spielberger Anger Expression Scale) were represented by factor scores reflecting Overt Hostility, Covert Hostility, and Hostile Beliefs. A canonical correlation analysis identified significant associations between a set of facial affect scores reflecting animosity and various measures of hostility. Specifically, increases in anger and disgust expressions and decreases in happy facial expressions were associated with high IHAT scores and high scores on self-report measures of Hostile Beliefs and Covert Hostility. Women were more expressive than men, especially concerning positive affect, and women had lower scores on self-report measures of Hostile Beliefs and Overt Hostility. IHAT scores were uncorrelated with any of the self-report factors which suggests the two assessment techniques are tapping different aspects of the hostility construct.