Age differences in anger frequency, intensity, and expression
BACKGROUND: Although research consistently indicates harmful effects of mismanaged anger, little attention has been given to age differences in the experience and expression of this emotion. It is plausible that, with age and experience, people have less intense anger or learn to manage it more constructively.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this project was to examine age differences in anger frequency, intensity, and expression in a nonclinical sample of students, faculty, and staff who participated in a health fair at a large southeastern university.
STUDY DESIGN: This descriptive study involved a predominantly white sample, ranging in age from 18 to 76 years. There were 206 men and 199 women. Anger variables were measured by an instrument to assess anger at home and at work or school.
RESULTS: No significant age differences were found in anger experienced at home. Women in their 40s scored significantly higher on anger at work than did women of other ages; moreover, their scores were almost twice as high as the scores of men in their 40s. Significant age and gender differences were found in the propensity to overtly express anger, with younger women (those in their 20s and 30s) having the highest mean scores on Total Expressed Anger.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings of this study suggest the need for continued exploration of anger in samples of diverse ages so that anger management interventions can be appropriately tailored for clients.
Thomas, S.P. (2002). Age differences in anger frequency, intensity, and expression. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 8, (2), 44-50.