PAYING THE PRICE FOR ANGER: DO WOMEN BEAR GREATER COSTS?

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Author:
Van Doren, Natalia
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
January 15, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Jose Angel Soto, Thesis Advisor
  • Theresa K Vescio, Committee Member
  • Pamela Marie Cole, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • gender
  • emotion
  • anger expression
  • depression
  • relational interdependent self-construal
Abstract:
Gender roles dictate the free expression of emotion for women and the general suppression of emotional expression for men. At the same time, expectations that women should be warm and caring dictate norms around expression of specific emotions, such that women are generally expected to display more positive, communal emotions (e.g., joy; compassion), whereas men are expected to display more negative, agentic emotions (e.g., anger). These competing expectations may make managing anger more challenging, in terms of affecting individual mental health, as trait tendencies of both expressing (anger-out) and suppressing anger (anger-in) may violate expectations of appropriate emotional behavior for women. We tested the hypothesis that both anger-out and anger-in would be linked to depression for women, but not men, using data from the MIDUS study (N = 1048). Additionally, given that greater investment and attention to relationships might make these displays of anger even more consequential, we tested whether relational interdependent self-construal (RISC) moderates these effects. Multiple regression analyses revealed main effects of anger-out, anger-in, and RISC on depression. Gender did not moderate the effects of anger-in on depression, but did moderate the effects of anger-out, such that outward expression of anger was significantly and positively associated with depression for women, but not for men, indicating that women may bear greater negative consequences from expressing their anger. Gender also moderated the effect of RISC on depression, such that RISC was negatively associated with depression for men, but not women, but RISC did not further interact with gender and anger-in or anger-out. Implications and future directions are discussed.