The Social Costs and Benefits of Anger as a Function of Gender and Relationship Context

The Social Costs and Benefits of Anger as a Function of Gender and Relationship Context On the basis of Social Role Theory and a social functional view of emotions, we argue that gender differences in anger experiences and expression are related to men’s and women’s relationship context. We hypothesized that women in traditional relationship contexts would express their anger less directly, and would suppress their anger more, due to expected negative social appraisals. We compared anger reactions to a conflict situation in a traditional and egalitarian relationship context. Eighty-two Dutch adult participants (43 women and 39 men) were recruited partly by students in a psychology class, and partly by a snowball method. They were invited to participate only if they had a steady relationship of minimally one year. The results show that women report more intense subjective anger in both contexts, but that the expression of anger differed with relationship context. In traditional relationships women tend to suppress their anger more than men, while men report to express their anger directly more than women. This difference in anger expression was mediated by negative social appraisals. In egalitarian relationships, this difference was not found. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sex Roles Springer Journals

The Social Costs and Benefits of Anger as a Function of Gender and Relationship Context

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
ISSN
0360-0025
eISSN
1573-2762
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11199-011-9956-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

On the basis of Social Role Theory and a social functional view of emotions, we argue that gender differences in anger experiences and expression are related to men’s and women’s relationship context. We hypothesized that women in traditional relationship contexts would express their anger less directly, and would suppress their anger more, due to expected negative social appraisals. We compared anger reactions to a conflict situation in a traditional and egalitarian relationship context. Eighty-two Dutch adult participants (43 women and 39 men) were recruited partly by students in a psychology class, and partly by a snowball method. They were invited to participate only if they had a steady relationship of minimally one year. The results show that women report more intense subjective anger in both contexts, but that the expression of anger differed with relationship context. In traditional relationships women tend to suppress their anger more than men, while men report to express their anger directly more than women. This difference in anger expression was mediated by negative social appraisals. In egalitarian relationships, this difference was not found.

Journal

Sex RolesSpringer Journals

Published: Apr 16, 2011

References

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