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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Emerging Science Note/Men Take Bullying to Heart

Air Date: Week of

Researchers conducted a four year study on Nova Scotian men and women which found that men who are anti-social are more likely to get heart disease than anti-social women.


TORGRIMSON: Are you a type-A personality? Do you ever find yourself muttering psychotically while maneuvering your SUV in and out of traffic? Or cutting in line to see the newest Vin Diesel movie? Scientists have long believed that individuals with hostile personalities - bullies, to put it politely - are at higher risk of heart disease, but a new study has found that this danger may differ drastically between the sexes.

Researchers looking at health data from a group of Nova Scotians have concluded that hostility is a good predictor of recurrent heart problems in men, but not so in women. The study used a standard test for measuring hostility based on indicators such as "cynicism," "social avoidance," and "hostile affect."

Scientists tracked the health of the group for four years and then analyzed the data after adjusting it for other heart risks such as smoking and obesity. They discovered that highly hostile men suffered from recurrent coronary heart disease at twice the rate of their mellower counterparts. But highly hostile women were no more likely to have heart problems than those women who tested for low hostility.

It's unclear just why type A personalities would affect men and women so differently, but it may have something to do with the way members of each sex express their hostility. So, until researchers learn more, men who stiff waiters and kick puppies will continue to pay a higher physical price than equally bad-tempered women. That's this week's Note on Emerging Science. I'm Emily Torgrimson.



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