Strodl, E., Kenardy, J., University of Queensland and Aroney, C., Prince Charles Hospital, Australia
Patients with angina commonly claim that their angina attacks can be triggered by emotional reactions. This study aimed to examine which emotions are most associated with the experience of angina and what factors might moderate these associations. Particularly we hypothesised that if certain emotions do trigger angina episodes then high levels of that emotion should be associated with more frequent angina attacks. To test this hypothesis we identified 204 patients (65% male) hospitalised for angina, and assessed their angina frequency in the past week and past month, as well as assessing their levels of stress, anxiety, depression, impatience/irritability, anger and anger expression. We then recontacted them at 3 months (n=147) and 12 months (n=164) in order to assess their angina frequency. The results suggest that higher levels of emotions such as trait anger, anxiety and the outward expression of anger are associated with more frequent experiences of angina retrospectively as well as prospectively over 3 and 12 months. Moreover these associations are complex and appear to be moderated by gender as well as having experienced a myocardial infarction (MI). For example, the prospective association between trait anger (r=.62), the outward (r=.55) expression of anger and angina frequency over a three month period, appears to be strongest in women who have experienced a past MI. These findings, and their possible physiological causes will be discussed during the presentation.