Personality predictors of coronary heart disease

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Fifty percent of the diagnosed cases of coronary heart disease in the United States are of unknown etiology. This study proposed that five personality traits— achievement, dominance, aggression, succorance and Critical Parent—differentiate individuals with coronary heart disease manifestations. The ultimate goal of this research was to formulate a predictive profile of at-risk individuals of developing coronary heart disease.

Cardiac rehabilitation units' participants from across the United States were recruited as subjects. Randomly selected cardiac rehabilitation units were sent an initial letter inquiring whether their staff would be willing to participate in the study by administering the instruments to their participants. Eight units from each of the 50 states were contacted. A total of fourteen units agreed to participate. One hundred sixty-nine subjects completed the Demographic Data Questionnaire and the Adjective Check List.

Five scale scores, representing the five personality differentials, were analyzed. Comparison of the male subject population (n=135) and the male normative population (n=198) revealed no significant differences in terms of the five traits. Comparison of diagnostic subgroups of the subject population also revealed no significant differences.

It was concluded that the subject population did not differ significantly from the normative population in terms of the five traits assess by the instrument used. The goal of a predictive profile was not realized due to this lack of findings.