Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 61 Issue 3 (September 1988), Pages 209-304

Risk factors for myocardial infarction: The importance of relaxation (pages 209-217)

Several risk factors for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) were examined, including history of smoking and hypercholesterolemia, income, education, coronary‐prone behaviour by Structured Interview (SI) and the type and quality of stress‐reducing relaxing activities, in a case‐control study. Our sample included 100 AMI patients (80 males and 20 females, with mean ages 57.3 and 64.1 years, respectively), as well as 100 age‐ and sex‐matched controls.

Univariate differences between cases and controls were significant for history of smoking, income level, SI‐defined hostility, SI‐defined suppression of hostility, amount and type of relaxing activities and history of hypercholesterolemia. Multivariable analyses demonstrated that AMI patients reported significantly lower levels of relaxation and income, but higher levels of suppressed hostility and a higher incidence of hypercholesterolemia.

Our findings confirm the significance of hostility and particularly suppressed hostility as AMI risk factors; furthermore, inadequate relaxation was identified as an independent risk factor associated with AMI.

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