Paying the price for anger: Do women bear greater costs?

Natalia Van Doren, José A. Soto
Published Online:
04 Nov 2020
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 56 Issue 3

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Prior research shows that the social costs of expressing anger may be greater for women than for men. However, less is known about whether anger expression is also associated with greater intrapersonal costs for women relative to men. We tested the hypothesis that outward anger expression would be related to greater depressive symptoms over time for women, but not men. A nationally representative sample of 942 community‐dwelling adults reported on their frequency of anger expression and completed diagnostic interviews to assess depressive symptoms at baseline and 9‐year follow‐up. Moderation analyses using bootstrapping revealed a significant main effect of anger‐out on depression. As predicted, gender moderated the effects of anger‐out on depression, such that greater anger‐out at baseline predicted greater depression in women 9 years later, even after controlling for baseline depression. Findings add to the literature by revealing the intrapersonal costs women may incur from anger expression.

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