Anger in or out, which is healthier? an attempt to reconcile inconsistent findings

Giora Keinan, Michal Zilka, Hastda Ben-Zur, Rafael S. Carel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A survey of the literature concerning the relationship between style of anger expression and health disorders does not lead to a clear-cut conclusion. Some studies suggest that the outward expression of anger {anger-out) contributes to health problems of various types, while others present evidence suggesting that it is the suppression of anger (anger-in) which contributes to health problems. The present study examined three conceivable explanations for the contradictory evidence produced in this research area: (1) different aspects of anger expression are differentially related to the individual’s health; (2) the pattern of anger expression is related differentially to health disorders of different types; (3) the degree of matching between the individual’s style of anger expression and social desirability accounts for the inconsistency in the empirical findings. A sample of 134 men underwent comprehensive medical examinations and also filled in several anger expression questionnaires. The results supported the first hypothesis, namely that intensity of anger expression was negatively correlated with ill health while frequency of anger expression was positively correlated with ill health. No support was found for the hypothesis that anger expression relates differentially to health disorders of different types. However, the matching hypothesis was confirmed in part. It was found that individuals low on both intensity of anger expression and social desirability reported the highest frequency of health problems. The theoretical significance of these findings and their practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-98
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology and Health
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 1992

Keywords

  • Anger expression
  • health disorders
  • social desirability

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Anger in or out, which is healthier? an attempt to reconcile inconsistent findings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this