The Hostility Questionnaire
Taking a written test is the first and easiest way to evaluate
your hostility level. Your answers, taken all together, should
a reasonably accurate profile of your attitudes and behaviors,
if you take care to answer accurately. It's always tempting to
answer such questions as though a parent, fifth-grade teacher,
we want to impress were looking over our shoulder! Try to get rid
of your chaperone before you begin. Avoid the temptation to choose
the response you think you ought to pick, or the one you think
sound right to other people. Answer as spontaneously as you can.
Otherwise, you will only be fooling yourself. Unlike the tests
you took in school, there are no right or wrong answers here. What
right to you is the correct answer. Each question describes a specific
or general situation that you have probably encountered. If you
haven't encountered it, imagine as vividly as you can how you would
in the situation.
After each description you are presented with two responses,
A or B. describing how that situation might affect you, or how
behave under those circumstances. In some instances, neither
response may seem to fit, or both may appear equally desirable.
normal; go ahead and answer anyway, choosing as best you can
the single response
that is more likely for you in that situation. You may prefer
to write down the numbers 1 through 46 on a blank sheet of paper,
write an "A" or "B" beside each number, to
indicate your choice for the corresponding question. This way,
take the test without being influenced by your responses. In
addition, your responses can remain private. Remember, choose
only one response
for each situation described. Take as much time as you need to
make your choice for each item, but remember that what seems
first glance—your "gut" reaction—usually
represents your true position. On average it should take about
to answer all of the questions.
1. A teenager drives by my yard with the car stereo blaring acid
A. I begin to understand why teenagers can't hear.
B. I can feel
my blood pressure starting to rise.
2. The person who cuts my hair trims off more than I wanted.
A. I tell him or her what a lousy job he or she did.
B. I figure
it'll grow back, and I resolve to give my instructions more
forcefully next time.
3. I am in the express checkout line at the supermarket, where
a sign reads: "No more than 10 items, please!"
A. I pick up a magazine to pass the time.
B. I glance ahead
to see if anyone has more than ten items.
4. Many large cities have a visible number of homeless people.
A. I believe that the homeless are down and out because they
B. The homeless are victims of illness or
some other misfortune.
5. There have been times when I was very angry with someone.
A. I was always able to stop short of hitting them.
I have, on occasion, hit or shoved them.
6. The newspaper contains a prominent news story about
drug- related crime.
A. I wish the government had better educational/drug
programs, even for pushers.
B. I wish we could put every
away for good.
7. The prevalence of AIDS has reached epidemic proportions.
A. This is largely the result of irresponsible behavior
on the part of a small proportion of the population.
is a major
8. I sometimes argue with a friend or relative.
A. I find profanity an effective tool.
B. I hardly
ever use profanity.
9. I am stuck in a traffic jam.
A. I usually am not particularly upset.
B. I quickly
start to feel irritated and annoyed.
10. There is a really important job to be done.
A. I prefer to do it myself.
B. I am apt to call
on my friends or co-workers to help.
11. Sometimes I keep my angry feelings to myself.
A. Doing so can often prevent me from making
a mountain out of a molehill.
B. Doing so is
a bad idea.
12. Another driver butts ahead of me in traffic.
A. I usually flash my lights or honk my horn.
B. I stay farther back behind such a driver.
13. Someone treats me unfairly.
A. I usually forget it rather quickly.
am apt to keep thinking about it for hours.
14. The cars ahead of me on an unfamiliar
road start to slow and stop as they approach
A. I assume that there is a construction
B. I assume someone ahead had
I5. Someone expresses an ignorant belief.
A. I try to correct him or her.
B. I am likely
to let it pass.
16. I am caught in a slow-moving bank or
A. I usually start to fume at people who
dawdle ahead of me.
B. I seldom notice
17. Someone is being rude or annoying.
A. I am apt to avoid him or her in the
B. I might have to get rough
with him or
18. An election year rolls around.
A. I learn anew that politicians are
not to be trusted.
B. I am caught up
excitement of pulling for
19. An elevator stops too long on a
floor above where I am waiting
A. I soon start to feel irritated and
B. I start planning the rest
of my day.
20. I am around someone I don't like.
A. I try to end the encounter as soon
B. I find it hard not
to be rude
to him or
21. I see a very overweight person
walking down the street.
A. I wonder why this person has such
B. I think that
he or she
might have a metabolic
defect or a psychological
22. I am riding as a passenger in
the front seat of a car.
A. I take the opportunity to enjoy
B. I try to stay alert
23. Someone criticizes something
I have done.
A. I feel annoyed.
B. I try to decide
whether the criticism is justified.
24. I am involved in an argument.
A. I concentrate hard so that I can
get my point across.
B. I can feel
I breathe harder.
25. A friend or co-worker disagrees
A. I try to explain my position
B. I am apt to get
an argument with
him or her.
26. Someone is speaking very slowly
during a conversation.
A. I am apt to finish his or her
B. I am apt to listen
until he or she
27. If they were put on the honor
system, most people wouldn't sneak
into a movie
theatre without paying.
A. That's because they are afraid
of being caught.
B. It's because
28. I have strong beliefs about
A. I try to reward mine when they
B. I make sure that
what the rules
29. I hear news of another terrorist
A. I feel like lashing out.
I wonder how people can be so cruel.
30. I am talking with my spouse,
boyfriend, or girlfriend.
A. I often find my thoughts racing
ahead to what I plan to say next.
B. I find
she is saying.
31. There have been times in the
past when I was really angry.
A. I have never thrown things or
slammed a door.
B. At times I have
32. Life is full of little annoyances.
A. They often seem to get under
B. They seem to roll
33. I disapprove of something
a friend has done.
A. I usually keep such disapproval
B. I usually let him
or her know
34. I am requesting a seat assignment
for an airline flight.
A. I usually request a seat in
a specific area of the plane.
35. I feel a certain way nearly
every day of the week.
A. I feel grouchy some of the
B. I usually stay on an
36. Someone bumps into me in
A. I pass it off as an accident.
B. I feel irritated at the person's
37. My spouse, boyfriend, or
girlfriend is preparing a meal.
A. I keep an eye out to make
sure nothing burns or cooks too
B. I either
talk about my
read the paper.
38. A boyfriend or girlfriend
calls at the last minute to say
he or she
is "too tired to go out tonight," and I am
stuck with a pair of fifteen-dollar tickets.
A. I try to find someone else
to go with.
B. I tell my friend
he or she
39. I recall something that angered
A. I feel angry all over again.
B. The memory doesn't bother
as the actual
40. I see people walking-around
in shopping malls.
A. Many of them are either shopping
B. Many are wasting
41. Someone is hogging the conversation
at a party.
A. I look for an opportunity
to put him or her down.
42. At times, I have to work
with incompetent people. .
A. I concentrate on my part of
B. Having to put up
43. My spouse, boyfriend, or
girlfriend is going to get me
a birthday present.
A. I prefer to pick it out myself.
B. I prefer to be surprised.
44. I hold a poor opinion of
A. I keep it to myself.
let him or her know about it.
45. In most arguments I have,
the roles are consistent.
A. I am the angrier one.
other person is angrier than
46. Slow-moving lines can often
be found in banks and supermarkets.
A. They are an unavoidable part
of modern life.
B. They are often
CYNICISM, ANGER, AGGRESSION -
Cynicism, anger, and aggression
are the three categories
we mentioned at the
start of this
chapter as the
ones that accurately
harmful hostility on the
Ho scale. In the next chapter
Cynicism: a mistrusting attitude regarding the motives of people
in general, leading one to be constantly on guard against the "misbehavior" of
• Anger: the emotion so often engendered by the cynical person's expectation
of unacceptable behavior
on the part of others.
• Aggression: the behavior to which many hostile people are driven
by the unpleasant negative
emotions of anger, irritation, and the like.
The test you just took is designed
to reveal where you stand
on these three
shown to predict
higher death rates.
your Cynicism level, turn
back to the
test and look
at the following
10(A), 14(B), 18(A), 21(A),
22(B), 27(A), 30(A), 34(A),
40(B), 43(A), and 46(B).
Give yourself one point every time
agrees with the letter
in parentheses after each item number. Thus,
if your answers
for eight out
of the fifteen Cynicism
questions, your Cynicism score would
These fifteen questions tested
the degree to which you believe
people in general
and out mainly
you cannot trust them to
do the right thing most of
you are the
only one you
example, your having chosen "I glance ahead to see if anyone has more
than ten items" instead of "I pick up a magazine to pass
the time" when in the
express line at the supermarket
(item 3), indicates that
your level of trust in other
people is so low
that you expect them to try
to sneak through with more
than ten items.
Enter your Cynicism score
on the appropriate line at
• If your score is 0 to 3, your Cynicism
level is very low.
• If your score is 4 to 6, your Cynicism level is probably high enough
to be of some concern.
• If your score is 7 or more, your Cynicism level is very high.
To score your Anger level, give yourself one point for each answer
that agrees with the letter
in parentheses after these items:
1(B), 6(B), 9(B), 13(B), 16(A), 19(A),
23(A), 24(B), 29(A), 32(A), 35(A), 36(B), 39(A), 42(B), and 45(A).
marked "Anger" in
the scoring key.
As you probably noticed,
these items asked whether
life's frustrations, such
as being stuck in a traffic
• If your score is 0 to 3, your Anger level
is very low.
• If your score is 4 to 6, your Anger level is probably high enough
to deserve your attention.
• If your score is 7 or higher, your Anger level is very high.
To score your Aggression level, give yourself one point
for each answer that agrees with the
letter in parentheses after these items: 2(A), 5(B), 8(A), 11(B), 12(A),
15(A), 17(B), 20(B), 25(B), 26(A), 28(B), 31(B), 33(B), 38(B), 41(A), and 44(B).
on the "Aggression" line of the
These items gauge your tendency to express
your anger or irritation overtly toward
physically (e.g., item 5—when
angry with someone, "I have, on occasion, hit or shoved them")
or verbally (e.g., item 33—when disapproving of something a
friend has done, "I usually let him or her know about it").
your score is 0 to 3, your Aggression level is very low.
• If your score is 4 to 6, your Aggression level is borderline, and
you may want to consider
ways to reduce it.
• If your score is 7 or more, you probably need to take serious steps
to reduce your Aggression
Your Total Hostility score is simply the sum of the
Add your Cynicism,
and Aggression scores and
enter the total on the "Total Hostility" line
of the scoring key.
If your Total Hostility score
is 10 or less, the research
hostility level is
below the range where it
is likely to place you at
place you in the
group whose hostility level
is high enough to increase
risk of health
Your scores on the Cynicism,
Anger, and Aggression dimensions
clues regarding those
aspects of your
hostility that need changing.
For example, if your Cynicism
is 9 but your
Anger and Aggression
scores are both
only 4, this
might suggest that you need
to focus most on your
attitudes toward others.
If you were unsure of many
of your answers or if your
personality assessment has
shown that when people who
know a person well rate that
by having the person fill
out the personality
test him- or herself.
If you trust the judgment
of someone close to you (a
want to ask
the test. Instruct
this person to choose the
responses to each question
as he or she
answer. If the
of you agrees closely with
yours—within two to three points
for the Total Hostility score—then
it's likely that your own
self-ratings are accurate.
If the two scores differ
by more than five or six
points, and especially if
your friend's score is higher
than yours, you may be underestimating
your hostility level..
Excerpt from "Anger Kills" by: Redford
Williams, M.D., Virginia Williams, ph.d., Harperperennial, New