Objective: Hostility is associated with adverse outcomes in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). However, assessment tools used to evaluate hostility in epidemiological studies vary widely.
Methods: We administered nine subscales of the Cook-Medley Hostility Scale (CMHS) to 656 outpatients with stable CHD between 2005 and 2007. We used Cox proportional hazards models to determine the association between each hostility subscales and all-cause mortality. We also performed an item analysis using logistic regression to determine the association between each CMHS item and all-cause mortality.
Results: There were 136 deaths during 1364 person-years of follow-up. Four of nine CMHS subscales were predictive of mortality in age-adjusted analyses, but only one subscale (the seven-item Williams subscale) was predictive of mortality in multivariable analyses. After adjustment for age, sex, education, smoking, history of heart failure, diabetes, and high-density lipoprotein, each standard deviation increase in the Williams subscale was associated with a 20% increased mortality rate (hazard ratio = 1.20, 95% confidence interval = 1.00–1.43, p = .046), and participants with hostility scores in the highest quartile were twice as likely to die as those in the lowest quartile (hazard ratio = 2.00, 95% confidence interval = 1.10–3.65, p = .023).
Conclusions: Among nine variations of the CMHS that we evaluated, a seven-item version of the Williams subscale was the most strongly associated with mortality. Standardizing the assessment of hostility in future epidemiological studies may improve our understanding of the relationship between hostility and mortality in patients with CHD.