Bad news for Wolfs of Wall Street. New research shows power-seekers the likes of Jordan Belfort — who climbing the ladders of social and corporate status through aggressive, competitive efforts — face significantly higher risks for heart disease.
The findings, by psychologist Timothy W. Smith and colleagues at the University of Utah, also suggest kinder, gentler successful types — who attaining higher social status as the result of prestige and mutual respect — fare better, when it comes to health.
The conclusions, presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society this week in Savannah, are based on four studies that gauged the health effects of what researchers called the “hostile-dominant personality style” compared with the “warm-dominant style.”
Among the study findings:
- In surveys with 500 college students, hostile-dominant types reported greater hostility and interpersonal stress — risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
- Blood pressure tests of 180 undergraduates found people with hostile-dominant personalities had bigger increases in blood pressure when interacting with a dominant partner, but not with a deferential one.
- In a third study with 94 young, married couples, Smith and colleagues found that hostile-dominance in men was linked with higher blood pressure recorded throughout the day with a wearable monitor, but not among women.
- And research involving 154 older, married couples found a warm-dominant style was associated with less conflict and more support, while a hostile-dominant style was associated with more severe atherosclerosis in men and women.
"It's not a style that wears well with other people," Smith says, of people with hostile-dominant traits. "But there is some evidence that it is possible to teach old dogs new tricks, and if you do, it can reduce coronary risk."
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