Personality traits, cardiovascular fitness, and mortality in men

Brill, Patrica A.
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The present study was conducted to investigate the relationship among second-order factor personality levels of anxiety, depression, and hostility; cardiovascular fitness; and the odds associated with the risk of dying in men. Subjects were 494 men who were administered the Clinical Analysis Questionnaire (CAQ) and physical examinations, including a graded exercise test (GXT) between 1977 and 1986. The subjects were divided into cases (deceased) (n = 107), and controls (living) (n = 387). Subjects scoring $\geq$5.5 or $<$5.5 on the CAQ were classified as anxious or nonanxious, respectively. Depressed or nondepressed subjects were also classified by scoring $\geq$5.5 or $<$5.5, respectively. Hostile and nonhostile groups were also determined. Descriptive statistics for the deceased case and living control groups with respect to demographic and clinical data revealed the case group had significantly higher scores with respect to age, cholesterol, and blood pressure, and lower treadmill time scores than the control group. A higher percentage of men in the case group reported being nonexercisers and smokers. A higher percentage of men in the control group scored as anxious and depressed. Similar percentages of hostility were found in both case and control groups. Significant differences between the anxious, nonanxious; depressed, nondepressed; and hostile, nonhostile groups were reported with respect to age, treadmill time, and resting blood pressure. The Mantel-Haenszel statistic, an extension of the chi-square which controls for possible confounders, was employed to determine the odds associated with the risk of dying from being anxious, depressed, or hostile. The crude odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for anxiety, depression, and hostility are.786 (.388, 1,548),.775 (.338, 1.548), and 1.575 (.474, 5.227), respectively. After adjusting for possible confounders; age, anxiety, depression, treadmill time, cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, and smoking, there were no significant effects on mortality for any of the anxious, depressed, or hostile groups. The 95% confidence limits were calculated to determine if there was a difference in cardiovascular fitness levels in the anxious, nonanxious; depressed, nondepressed; or hostile, nonhostile groups. Significant differences were found between the depressed and nondepressed groups only.