Carnegie Mellon University



The Cook-Medley Hostility Scale (Ho)



Copyright Information

Scale not available in the public domain

Primary References

1. Cook W. W., & Medley, D. M. (1954) Proposed hostility and pharisaic-virtue scales for the MMPI (abstract). Journal of Applied Psychology, 38, 414-418.

2. Barefoot, J. C., Dodge, K. A., Peterson, B. L., Dahlstrom, W. G., & Williams, R. B. (1989). The Cook–Medley Hostility Scale: Item content and ability to predict survival. Psychosomatic Medicine, 51, 46–57.


To assess the extent to which individuals hold cynical and mistrustful cognitions about other persons, are easily angered or annoyed by others’ behaviors, and behave aggressively in response to provocation by other persons.

Type of Measure

Modified.  The original Cook-Medley Ho scale consists of 50-items that Barefoot and colleagues (1989) identified as being divisible into six categories:  hostile attributions, cynicism, hostile affect, aggressive responding, social avoidance, and other.  PMBC and PCS3 employed a 20-item version of the scale that includes items comprising the cynicism, hostile affect, and aggressive responding subscales.


Using dichotomous “true/false” response options, participants indicate whether each of 20 self-referent statements accurately describes their beliefs about, feelings regarding, and behaviors toward other persons.  No time-frame or referent period is used.  In PMBC, the Cook-Medley Ho was administered on two occasions, separated by 4 weeks (4 weeks pre-quarantine and Quarantine Day 0; see PMBC Trial Outline).  In PCS3, the scale was administered once (Quarantine Day 0; see PCS3 Trial Outline).


1 = True, 0 = False

Number of Items

20 (6 Cynicism, 5 Hostile Affect, and 9 Aggressive Responding)


In combined PMBC & PCS3 samples (n = 406)

Internal consistency (total score), Cronbach’s α = 0.74

In PMBC (n = 193)

Test-retest reliability (total score; 4 weeks) = 0.67


  • Cook Medley Hostile Affect Scale
  • Cook Medley Aggressive Responding Scale
  • Cook Medley Cynicism Scale
  • Cook Medley Hostility Scale – Total