Hostility, forgiveness, and cardiovascular reactivity to stress: Does forgiveness mediate or moderate the relation between hostility and cardiovascular reactivity to anger -eliciting laboratory experiences?
Date of Graduation
Numerous studies that have examined the physical health consequences of individual variables have focused on negative traits such as hostility, anger, and stress. These studies have demonstrated that such variables are often related to deleterious health outcomes as well as exaggerated cardiovascular reactions to stress. Fewer studies have examined the health benefits of positive variables like forgiveness. Forgiveness and hostility are thought to have an inverse relation, and it is not surprising that forgiveness has been associated with reduced cardiovascular reactivity to stress. Recognizing that hostility is related to elevated cardiovascular reactivity, and that forgiveness is associated with decreased cardiovascular reactivity, the purpose of this study was to test whether forgiveness played a mediating or moderating role in the commonly observed relation between trait hostility and cardiovascular reactivity to laboratory stressors. Forty-two male undergraduate students were categorized into high and low hostile groups based on their responses to the Cook Medley Hostility Scale. Participants engaged in two laboratory stressor tasks that involved harassment (mental arithmetic task and social interaction task). Results revealed SBP reactivity was significantly related to hostility whereby low hostile participants had higher SBP reactivity than high hostile participants (p < .001). Several measures of forgiveness were associated with hostility whereby high hostile participants reported less forgiveness than low hostile participants (p's < .05). Forgiveness was not significantly associated with parameters of cardiovascular reactivity. Consequently, the results of this study did not meet the criteria for conducting tests of mediation. Moderation analyses revealed that forgiveness did not moderate the hostility-cardiovascular reactivity relation in this population. Reasons for these unexpected findings were discussed.
Hernandez, Danielle H., "Hostility, forgiveness, and cardiovascular reactivity to stress: Does forgiveness mediate or moderate the relation between hostility and cardiovascular reactivity to anger -eliciting laboratory experiences?" (2005). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9030.