Psychosocial vulnerability, hostility, and family history of coronary heart disease among male and female college students

  • John N. O’Neil
  • Charles F. Emery


This study evaluated the utility of the psychosocial vulnerability model for understanding the hostility—coronary heart disease (CHD) relationship among college students at risk for CHD. Interrelationships of cognitive, affective, and behavioral hostility with structural and functional social support were examined. College undergraduates with a parental history of CHD (n = 121) and a control group of 125 students with no CHD family history completed measures of hostility and social support. Among women, a significant negative correlation was found between affective—experiential hostility and functional support. Among men, a significant negative correlation was observed between cognitive—experiential hostility and structural support. Path analyses revealed a significant positive effect of expressive hostility on functional s⊷port for CHD-negative men and CHD-positive women. CHD family history was not associated with hostility or family environment. CHD-positive participants reported less support satisfaction than did CHD-negative participants. Thus, results indicated qualified support for the psychosocial vulnerability model of the hostility—CHD relationship.

Key words

hostility social support psychosocial vulnerability coronary heart disease family history sex differences 


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • John N. O’Neil
    • 1
  • Charles F. Emery
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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