EPA Science Inventory

Aggravating conditions: Cynical hostility and neighborhood ambient stressors

Citation:

King, K. Aggravating conditions: Cynical hostility and neighborhood ambient stressors. SOCIAL SCIENCE MEDICINE. Pergamon Press Ltd., New York, NY, 75(12):2258-66, (2012).

Description:

This study is the first to investigate neighborhood clustering of a personality trait e cynical hostility (a sense of mistrust of others amplified by suspicious antagonism.) Cynical hostility increases physiological reactivity by influencing appraisal and coping when stressful events occur and that has been well established as a predictor of cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and all-cause mortality. The analysis examines the associations of a variety of neighborhood physical and social conditions (especially ambient stressors) with individual cynical hostility, controlling for individual sociodemographics. Data are from the Chicago Community Adult Health Survey, a clustered population-based study of 3105 adults. Variation by neighborhood in cynical hostility is larger than variation of other selected health outcomes,which are commonly studied using ecological methods or for other personality measures. Controlling for neighborhood context reduces the black/white cynical hostility disparity by one-third. A measure of neighborhood ambient stressors (notably noise) significantly predicts cynical hostility, even after individual characteristics are controlled, and the effect size is larger than for other contextual predictors. Health-related psychosocial and personality traits may both cluster in and be influenced by contemporaneous neighborhoods rather than mere exogenous results of genes or early life conditions. Healthrelevant psychosocial characteristics may also mediate effects of neighborhood deleterious physical conditions, thereby influencing downstream health outcomes and social disparities therein. Because residential location and neighborhood physical conditions are both modifiable, research on how ambient stressors influence health psychology may be particularly fruitful for health policy and practice.

Purpose/Objective:

The study documents the extent to which hostility varies by neighborhood and among social groups and how race/ethnic and socioeconomic disparity patterns differ when local context is held constant. It then investigates whether local ambient physical stressors (e.g. noise, dangerous traffic, and poor air quality), predict cynical hostility after individual and neighborhood socioeconomic statuses have been considered. The results suggest that putative personality variables such as cynical hostility are substantially a function of contemporaneous residential environments, and may be modifiable by changes in residential environment.

URLs/Downloads:

EPHD-13-083-ABSTRACT.PDF   (PDF,NA pp, 226.424 KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 01/07/2014
Completion Date: 01/07/2014
Record Last Revised: 06/12/2014
Record Created: 01/07/2014
Record Released: 01/07/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 266116

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

ENVIRONMENTAL PUBLIC HEALTH DIVISION

CLINICAL RESEARCH BRANCH