Hostility may confer a risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality, but why is uncertain. A common origin in suboptimal fetal and early postnatal life may lie beneath. This study tested whether prenatal and postnatal growth predicts hostility in adult life.
Women (n = 939) and men (n = 740) born in Helsinki, Finland, from 1934 through 1944 filled out the Cook-Medley Hostility Scale at an average age of 63.4 years. Growth was estimated from birth, child welfare clinic, and school records. Adult body size was measured in a clinic.
Men and women who had higher levels of hostility in adulthood were born lighter and thinner, showed slower weight gain from birth to 6 months of age, were lighter throughout childhood (standardized regression coefficients (beta) 0.06; 95% CIs, 0.02-0.14; p values