UBC Theses and Dissertations
Is keeping in or letting out anger good for your heart? Lai, Josanna Yuk-Lin
Given the presumed importance of cardiovascular reactivity and the role of anger in the development of hypertension and coronary heart disease, this study is the first to jointly examine three related areas (i.e. gender effects, anger direction preference, and opportunity/no opportunity to aggress following an anger Inducing situation). The present study tested the following hypotheses: a) that cardiovascular reactivity would vary as a function of subjects' gender and direction preference; b) that the rate of cardiovascular recovery would vary as a function of anger direction preference and opportunity/no opportunity to aggress; c) that the subjective feelings of anger after harassment would vary as a function of gender, anger direction preference, and opportunity/no opportunity to aggress; and d) that the evaluation of experimenter's competency and performance would vary as a function of anger preference. 56 females and 49 males executed a math task while being harassed for "poor performance". Next, they were randomly assigned to either write a negative evaluation of the frustrator or to copy a neutral paragraph and then to circle some letters in another paragraph. Heart rate and blood pressure were measured intermittently throughout. Subjects' preferred mode of anger expression (i.e. anger-in versus anger-out) had been previously assessed and cross validated by self as well as peer evaluations. Results indicated that gender was a better predictor than anger direction preference for cardiovascular reactivity to harassment. Complex patterns of recovery were detected with Intriguing sex differences. Results on male diastolic recovery were consistent with a matching hypothesis of anger direction preference but only for anger-out males. In addition, subjective anger for males was related to opportunity/no opportunity conditions, whereas females did not show such a relationship. Female anger-ln's showed quicker systolic recovery than anger-out's. Lastly, the evaluation of experimenter's competency and performance did not vary as a function of anger preference. Therapeutic implications of the findings within the context of anger control as well as trends for future research are discussed.
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