, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 282-290

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

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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.

Portions of this article were presented at the 16th Annual Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, San Diego, March 1995.
We thank Scott Schauss, Ty Callahan, Susan McClain, and Elizabeth Semenchuk for their assistance in conducting this project.