Don’t be mad

More research links hostility to coronary risk.

By Nadja Geipert

In 1959, cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman observed in top medical journals that competitive, deadline-driven, hypervigilant men-so-called Type A personalities-faced a significantly increased risk for coronary heart disease.

Yet ensuing large epidemiological studies failed to confirm the connection, and most health psychologists abandoned the concept in the late 1980s in favor of a component often found in Type A people: hostility.

A meta-analysis presented by German researcher Michael Myrtek, PhD, in his chapter on heart disease, Type A and hostility in the recently published APA book “Contributions Toward Evidence-based Psychocardiology: A Systematic Review of the Literature” (see “One heart-many threats”) confirms that there is no significant association between Type A personalities and heart disease, but that there is a connection between hostility and coronary heart disease.

“The consensus is really that it is not all aspects of Type A behavior, but just the hostility component,” says Redford Williams, MD, director of the behavioral medicine research center at Duke University School of Medicine.


Today’s issue of the *Arizona Republic* includes an article: “Spanking
can create defiant kids, report says.”

Here are some excerpts:

[begin excerpts]

Corporal punishment is not a good way to improve a child’s behavior and
might even make things worse.

The ineffectiveness of spanking or swatting may come as a surprise to
American parents, most of whom use physical punishment to teach their

The findings are part of a new report that examined more than 100 years
of research and published studies on the physical punishment of children.

“The Report on Physical Punishment in the United States,” released this
week, is endorsed by the American Medical Association and the American
Academy of Pediatrics.

The study focuses not on child abuse but on spanking and other similar
punishments used by parents.


The study is not an attempt to suggest that parents should be more lax
with their children.

“One of the last things we want to convey is that children should not be
disciplined,” said Dr. David Notrica of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.


Gershoff’s study was a meta-analysis, meaning she statistically combined
the results of many different studies.


She knows, however, that many parents spank or hit their children
because the parents were hit when they were kids and turned out fine.


“(Children) learn from all the things around the spanking,” Gershoff
said. “They get how serious you are. You have their attention.
Sometimes, there is a talk after the spanking that really sinks in.”

The trick, she said, is to get the child’s attention without the spanking.


Gershoff referred to three recent studies – in Pediatrics, Southern
Medical Journal and Psychology, Public Policy, and Law – which showed
that nearly two-thirds of parents with children 1 to 2 years old
reported using physical punishment and that 80 percent of children have
been physically punished by the time they reach fifth grade.

“Unfortunately, the fact that it is a violent act teaches the child
about violence,” said Dr. Roberta Hibbard, a member of the American
Academy of Pediatrics’ Child Abuse and Neglect committee.

“The underlying message is that violence is OK. It’s not OK.”


In Gershoff’s reports, she says that when children were spanked, 85
percent of the studies showed there to be “less moral internalization of
norms for appropriate behavior and long-term compliance.”

There is evidence that Americans’ approval of physical punishment is on
the decline.

“The Report on Physical Punishment in the United States” points to a
long-running survey by the General Social Survey, which is funded by the
National Science Foundation.

It found that, in the 1960s, 94 percent of adults favored physical punishment.

By 1986, 84 percent of U.S. adults agreed that children sometimes need a
“good hard spanking.”

In 2004, the percentage had dropped to 71.3 percent.

Gershoff knows it will not be easy to change how parents raise their
children. She knows most parents who spank are doing so because they
think it is best for the child.

“It’s easier to see in the research because we can see so many children
and over so much time,” Gershoff said.

“I’ve read hundreds and hundreds of studies. Overwhelmingly, they find
that spankings are associated with negative outcomes. There is no
research that says spanking is good for kids.”

[end excerpt]

The article is online at:

[courtesy of Ken Pope]

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”  —  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. Ambrose Bierce, THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY

“I am beside myself”
“Move over. You’re in bad company”. Groucho Marx: A NIGHT AT THE OPERA.

It is my rule never to lose my temper till it would be detrimental to keep it. Sean O’Casey THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS.

Diplomacy is the art of fishing peacefully in troubled waters. J. Christopher Harold. BONAPART IN EGYPT.

A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. FD Roosevelt.

8/14/2007 *New York Times* includes an article: “Behavior:
Hostility May Raise Risk for Disease” by Nicholas Bakalar.

Here’s the article:

Researchers studying 313 healthy Vietnam veterans have found that anger
and hostility may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes
and high blood pressure.

Over a period of 10 years, the men had regular physical examinations
involving a wide variety of medical tests. They also underwent
psychological examinations using well-established questionnaires to
determine their levels of hostility, anger and depression.

The researchers measured blood levels of a protein called C3, a marker
for the inflammation that is a risk factor for cardiovascular illnesses.
After controlling for other variables, the scientists found that those
in the highest one-quarter in hostility, anger and depression showed a
steady and significant increase in C3 levels, while those in the lowest
one-quarter had no increase.