Document Type


Publication Date

October 2012


Prior research has demonstrated that state depressive symptoms and hostility can modulate inflammatory immune responses and directly contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD) onset and development. Previous studies have not considered the contribution of dispositional depressive symptoms to the inflammatory process. They have also largely excluded African Americans, despite their disproportionate risk for CVD. The first aim of the study was to examine the impact of state and dispositional depression and hostility on CVD-associated inflammatory biomarkers interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP) in an African American sample. The second aim was to examine synergistic influences of hostility and state and dispositional depression on IL-6 and CRP. The final aim was to examine whether the relations between state and dispositional depression, hostility, IL-6, and CRP varied as a function of gender and education. Anthropometric measures, blood serum samples, and psychosocial data were collected from 198 African Americans from the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Hierarchical and stepwise regression analyses indicated that (1) increased levels of hostility were associated with increased levels of CRP; (2) hostility and IL-6 were more strongly associated among participants with lower educational attainment; and (3) dispositional depression and CRP were more strongly associated among participants with greater hostility and lower educational attainment. Findings suggest that enduring personality dispositions, such as dispositional depression and hostility, are critical to a thoroughassessment ofcardiovascular profiles in African Americans. Future studies should investigate causal pathways that link depressive and hostile personality styles to inflammatory activity for African American men and women.

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