Advertisement

Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 347–358 | Cite as

Influence of Apologies and Trait Hostility on Recovery from Anger

  • Jeremy C. AndersonEmail author
  • Wolfgang Linden
  • Martine E. Habra
Article

Abstract

While there is growing evidence that quick recovery from stress is health-protective, relatively little is known about what factors affect recovery rates. We tested whether recovery from anger can be diffused with apologies. 184 participants performed a stress task involving verbal harassment and apologies. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: non-harassed control, good apology, pseudo-apology, or no apology. Measures of blood pressure and heart rate were taken at baseline, task and recovery periods. Participants scoring high in trait hostility displayed faster systolic blood pressure recovery when they received a genuine apology, but recovered more slowly when they received a pseudo-apology or no apology. Apologies did not influence subjective anger ratings. It was concluded that apologies may accelerate cardiovascular anger recovery among those with hostile personality predispositions.

Keywords

cardiovascular recovery apology hostility blood pressure heart rate 

REFERENCES

  1. Anderson, J., Linden, W., and Habra, M. (2005). The importance of examining blood pressure reactivity and recovery in anger provocation research. Int. J. Psychophysiol. 57: 159–163.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, J., and Prkachin, G. (1998). Unpublished data, University of Northern British Columbia.Google Scholar
  3. Barefoot, J. C., Dodge, K. A., Peterson, B. L., Dahlstrom, W. G., and Williams, R. (1989). The Cook-Medley Hostility scale: Item content and ability to predict survival. Psychosom. Med. 51: 46–57.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Baron, R. A. (1990). Countering the effects of destructive criticism: The relative efficacy of four interventions. J. Appl. Psychol. 75: 235–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cannon, W. B. (1929). Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage 2nd ed.. Appleton, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Christensen, A. J., and Smith, T. W. (1993). Cynical hostility and cardiovascular reactivity during self-disclosure. Psychosom. Med. 55: 193–202.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Cook, W. W., and Medley, D. M. (1954). Proposed hostility and pharisaic-virtue scales for the MMPI. J. Appl. Psychol. 38: 414–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Darby, B. W., and Schlenker, B. R. (1989). Children's reactions to transgressions: Effects of the actor's apology, reputation and remorse. Br. J. Soc. Psychol. 28: 353–364.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Davidson, K. W. (1993). Suppression and repression in discrepant self-other ratings: Relations with thought control and cardiovascular reactivity. J. Pers. 61: 669–691.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. DeLongis, A., Folkman, S., and Lazarus, R. (1988). The impact of daily stress on health and mood: Psychological and social resources as mediators. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 54: 486–495.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diamond, E., Schneiderman, N., Schwartz, D., Smith, J., Vorp, R., and DeCarlo Pasin, R. (1984). Harassment, hostility, and Type A as determinants of cardiovascular reactivity during competition. J. Behav. Med. 7: 171–189.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Drummond, P. D. (1983). Cardiovascular reactivity in mild hypertension. J. Psychosom. Res. 27: 291–297.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Earle, T. L., Linden, W., and Weinberg, J. (1999). Differential effects of harassment on cardiovascular and salivary cortisol stress reactivity and recovery in women and men. J. Psychosom. Res. 46: 125–141.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ganster, D. C., Schaubroeck, J., Sime, W. E., and Mayes, B. T. (1991). The nomological validity of the Type A personality among employed adults. J. Appl. Psychol. 76: 143–168.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Glynn, L. M., Christenfeld, N., and Gerin, W. (2002). The role of rumination in recovery and reactivity: Cardiovascular consequences of emotional states. Psychosom. Med. 64: 714–726.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Habra, M. E., Linden, W. Anderson, J. C., and Weinberg, J. (2003). Type D personality is related to cardiovascular and neuroendocrine reactivity to acute stress. J. Psychosom. Res. 55: 235–245.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hocking-Schuler, J. L., and O’Brien, W. H. (1997). Cardiovascular recovery from stress and hypertension risk factors: A meta-analytic review. Psychophysiology 34: 649–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hogan, B., and Linden, W. (2004). Ambulatory blood pressure and anger coping styles: At least don't ruminate about it. Ann. Behav. Med. 27: 38–49PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holmes, J. (1990). Apologies in New Zealand English. Lang. Soc. 19: 155–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jorgensen, R. S., and Houston, B. K. (1986). Family history of hypertension, personality patterns, and cardiovascular reactivity to stress. Psychosom. Med. 48: 102–117.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Jorgensen, R. S., and Houston, B. K. (1988). Cardiovascular reactivity, hostility, and family history of hypertension. Psychother. Psychosom. 50: 216–222.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kleinke, C. L., Wallis, R., and Stalder, K. (1992). Evaluation of a rapist as a function of expressed intent and remorse. J. Soc. Psychol. 132: 525–537.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Landman, J. (1993). Regret: The Persistence of the Possible. Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Lawler, K. A., Kline, K., Seabrook, E., Krishnamoorthy, J., Anderson, S. F., Wilcox, Z. C. et al. (1998). Family history of hypertension: A psychophysiological analysis. Int. J. Psychophysiol. 28: 207–222.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lawler, K. A., Younger, J. W., Piferi, R. L., Billington, E., Jobe, R., Edmondson, K., and Jones, W. H. (2003). A change of heart: Cardiovascular correlates of forgiveness in response to interpersonal conflict. J. Behav. Med. 26: 373–393.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lazare, A. (2004). On Apology. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Linden, W., Earle, T. L., Gerin, W., and Christenfeld, N. (1997). Physiological stress reactivity and recovery: Conceptual siblings separated at birth. J. Psychosom. Res. 42: 117–135.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Linden, W., Rutledge, T., and Con, A. H. (1998). A case for the ecological validity of social lab stressors. Ann. Behav. Med. 20: 310–316.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Linden, W., Chambers, L., Maurice, J., and Lenz, J. W. (1993). Sex differences in social support, self-deception, hostility, and ambulatory cardiovascular activity. Health Psychol. 12: 376–380.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Linden, W., Earle, T., Gerin, W., and Christenfeld, N. (1997). Physiological stress reactivity and recovery: Conceptual siblings separated at birth? J. Psychosom. Res. 42: 117–135.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Llabre, M. M., Spitzer, S. B., Saab, P. G., and Ironson, G. H. (1991). The reliability and specificity of delta versus residualized change as measures of cardiovascular reactivity to behavioral challenges. Psychophysiology 28: 701–711.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McCann, B. S., and Matthews, K. A. (1988). Influences of potential for hostility, Type A behavior, and parental history of hypertension on adolescents' cardiovascular responses during stress. Psychophysiology 25: 503–511.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ohbuchi, K., Kameda, M., and Agarie, N. (1989). Apology as aggression control: Its role in mediating appraisal of and response to harm. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 56: 219–227.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Palmero, F., Codina, V., and Rosel, J. (1993). Psychophysiological activation, reactivity, and recovery in Type A and Type B scorers when in a stressful laboratory situation. Psychol. Rep. 73: 803–811.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Powch, I. G., and Houston, B. K. (1996). Hostility, anger-in, and cardiovascular reactivity in White women. Health Psychol. 15: 200–208.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Robinson, D. T., Smith-Lovin, L., and Tsoudis, O. (1994). Heinous crime or unfortunate accident? The effects of remorse on responses to mock criminal confessions. Soc. Forces 73: 175–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schwartz, A., Gerin, W., Davidson, K., Brosschot, J., Thayer, J., Pickering, T. G., and Linden, W. (2003) In search of a coherent model of stressor effects on short-term cardiovascular adjustments and the development of cardiovascular disease. Psychosom. Med. 65: 22–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schwartz, A., Gerin, W., Christenfeld, N., Glynn, L., Davidson, K., and Pickering, T. (2000). Effects of an anger recall task on post-stress rumination and blood pressure recovery in men and women. Psychophysiology 37: S12–S13.Google Scholar
  39. Selye, H. (1976). The Stress of Life rev. ed.. McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  40. Smith, T., and Pope, M. (1990). Cynical hostility as a health risk: Current status and future directions. J. Soc. Behav. Pers. 5: 77–88.Google Scholar
  41. Suarez, E. C., and Williams, R. B. (1990). The relationships between dimensions of hostility and cardiovascular reactivity as a function of task characteristics. Psychosom. Med. 52: 558–570.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Suls, J., and Wan, C. (1993). The relationship between trait hostility and cardiovascular reactivity: A quantitative review and analysis. Psychophysiology 30: 615–626.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Taylor, A. E. (1991). Asymmetrical effects of positive and negative events: The mobilization-minimization hypothesis. Psychol. Bull. 110: 67–85.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Taylor, C., and Kleinke, C. L. (1992). Effects of severity of accident, history of drunk driving, intent, and remorse on judgments of a drunk driver. J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 22: 1641–1655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Treiber, F. A., Kamarck, T., Schneiderman, N., Sheffied, D., Kapuku, G., and Taylor, T. (2003). Cardiovascular reactivity and development of pre-clinical and clinical disease states. Psychosom. Med. 65: 42–62.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy C. Anderson
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Wolfgang Linden
    • 1
  • Martine E. Habra
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Psychology/ UBCVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations