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Department of Psychological Sciences

Alan Ferris, Ph.D.

Advisor: Dr. Leon Rappoport

Dissertation Title

Does lifestyle explain the relationship between hostility and poor health?

Dissertation Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that lifestyle mediates the relationship between hostility and poor health. A lifestyle model of poor health was proposed and a questionnaire employed to gather relevant data. Variables measured were hostility, social support, food preferences, food cognition, eating behavior, intrinsic religious orientation, extrinsic religious orientation, religious behavior, religious habits, health locus of control, health symptoms, age, sex, smoking, exercise, and marital status. Participants in this study included volunteer members of midwestern congregations (all denominations) and undergraduate students. The total sample consisted of 301 adults ranging in age from 18-75, with a mean age of 32. Path analysis was used to test the proposed model, t-tests were employed to compare those high and low in physical symptoms, and factor analysis was used to compare food cognition of those high and low in physical symptoms. Overall, the results showed hostility to be a better predictor of physical symptoms than foodways and religiosity, however, those high and low in physical symptoms did differ significantly on several measures of foodways and religiosity. In addition, those high and low in physical symptoms differ in how they think about food. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.


Ph.D., Psychology, Kansas State University, 1992