This study examined trait hostility and social interaction in relation to ambulatory cardiovascular activity in 40 male and 39 female undergraduates. Participants wore an ambulatory blood pressure monitor and completed diary entries while engaged in everyday activities. Diary reports indicating that participants had been talking were used to identify cardiovascular readings taken during social interaction. Interaction effects for overall diastolic blood pressure and heart rate levels indicated that hostility was positively associated with these variables in men only. In addition, hostility was associated with higher systolic blood pressure during social interaction, an effect primarily due to data for men. Because physical activity was controlled statistically, it is likely that these effects were mediated by psychological processes. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that cardiovascular reactivity to social interaction mediates the relationship between hostility and coronary disease, and they may have implications for understanding sex differences in coronary risk.
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