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.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 16, 2011
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