Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 282-290

First online:

Biobehavioral responses to interpersonal conflict during anger expression among anger-in and anger-out men

  • Sonia SuchdayAffiliated withDepartment of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
  • , Kevin T. LarkinAffiliated withWest Virginia University

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To examine whether typical modes of anger expression (i.e., anger-in, anger-out) were related to cardiovascular, affective, behavioral, and cognitive responses to interpersonal conflict, 20 anger-in and 20 anger-out undergraduate men participated in 2 role plays, one in which they were instructed to exhibit their anger overtly and the other in which they inhibited their anger. Results showed that anger-in individuals used significantly more repression self-statements than anger-out individuals across both role play interactions (p > .01). Anger-out persons showed exaggerated diastolic blood pressure response in contrast to anger-in participants, but only during the exhibited anger role play (p > .04). When the anger exhibition role play followed anger inhibition, diastolic blood pressure responses were more intense (p > .05), and heart rate recovery was significantly slower (p > .03) among anger-out participants in contrast to anger-in participants. These findings indicate that modes of anger expression (trait) and contextual demands of the interaction (state) interact in complex ways to influence biobehavioral reactions to anger provocation.