Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 37–46 | Cite as

Anger, adiposity, and glucose control in nondiabetic adults: findings from MIDUS II

  • Vera K. Tsenkova
  • Deborah Carr
  • Christopher L. Coe
  • Carol D. Ryff


Anger has been linked to cardiovascular disease, but few studies have examined the relationship between anger and type 2 diabetes. The aim was to investigate associations among different indicators of anger expression, adiposity, and nondiabetic glucose metabolism in a national survey of adults. Participants were 939 adults without diabetes in the Midlife in the US study (MIDUS II). Glucose metabolism was characterized by fasting glucose, insulin, insulin resistance, and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c). Spielberger’s Anger Expression inventory was used to measure suppressed anger (anger-in), expressed anger (anger-out), and controlled anger (anger-control). We investigated the relationship between anger and glucose metabolism, and whether anger amplified the adverse relationship between body weight distribution (body mass index = BMI and waist-to-hip ratio = WHR) and glucose metabolism. Multivariate-adjusted analyses revealed an association between anger-out and both insulin and insulin resistance. As predicted, anger-in amplified the relationships between BMI and insulin and insulin resistance, while anger-out amplified the association between WHR and insulin and insulin resistance. Low anger-control was associated with higher glucose. None of the three anger measures was significantly associated with HbA1c. Our findings extend previous research on anger as a potential risk factor for type 2 diabetes by demonstrating that anger expression is associated with clinical indicators of glycemic control, especially among those with pre-existing risk due to obesity and high central adiposity.


Anger Diabetes Obesity Glucose Insulin HOMA-IR Insulin resistance HbA1c 



This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (P01-AG020166; Carol D. Ryff, Principal Investigator) to conduct a longitudinal follow-up of the MIDUS (Midlife in the US) investigation. The original study was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Midlife Development. We thank the staff of the Clinical Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, at the University of California—Los Angeles, and at Georgetown University for their support in conducting this study. Data collection was supported by the following Grants M01- RR023942 (Georgetown), M01-RR00865 (UCLA) from the General Clinical Research Centers Program, and 1UL1RR025011 (UW) from the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program of the National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health. The first author of this study was supported by the National Institute on Aging (K01AG041179) and by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health And Human Development (T32HD049302). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vera K. Tsenkova
    • 1
  • Deborah Carr
    • 2
  • Christopher L. Coe
    • 3
  • Carol D. Ryff
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for Women’s and Health Disparities ResearchUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Institute for HealthHealth Care Policy and Aging Research, Rutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  4. 4.Institute on Aging and Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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