Suppressed Anger Could Be Fatal

Copied from a newspaper article several years ago, provided by the Associated Press.

Women who hold in their anger may think they are acting polite, but they are also risking their lives, a University of Michigan researcher said Monday.

Mara Julius, a researcher at the university’s School of Public Health, presented her findings over the weekend at a meeting of the Gerontological Society of Ameria.

Her survey of 372 women and 324 men revealed that women who habitually stifle high levels of anger had a death rate during an 18-year study period threetimes higher than women who release their anger. However, this did not hold true for men.

Those surveyed ranged in age from 30 to 69 in 1971 when they were interviewed to study their behavior characteristics and whether they tended to hold in their anger or let it out. Follow-up  mortality studies were done in 1983 and 1989.

Anger suppression seems to affect the mortality rates of only those men who have high blood pressure or chronic bronchial conditions, Julius said.

“Suppressed anger is a significant. . . predictor of mortality risk among women,” the study said.

Julius said she could only speculate on the different results between men and women.

“We are definitely trained differently,” she said. “There are different norms of expectation of how to behave.”

While women are expected to show some emotions, anger tends not to be one of them, she said. Similarly, anger tends to be more accepted among men, Juliius said.

Julius said she did not know if it could be proven that suppressed anger directly causes death, but “its an independent risk”

The results “clearly supported the inference that gender is implicated in the relationship between mortality risk and anger-suppression,” the study said.

6 thoughts on “Suppressed Anger Could Be Fatal

  1. None of my other cats liked being in the car either, but Canaan did. People would look at her when we pulled into a gas station and give our vehicle a wide berth. Seems they were afraid of a black cat who liked to ride on the driver’s shoulder.


  2. Thanks for this interesting post. I am sure that supressing anger can be harmful to women. I wonder whether other studies back up the conclusions that, in general supressing anger is more harmful to women than men


    1. To be honest, I didn’t research that. I do know that, generally speaking, men and women process their emotions differently. One of the best books I ever read was “Anger is a Choice.” I don’t remember who the author was but it was a big help to me. In my childhood and early adulthood I had anger issues. The other book that made a big impact on me and how I handle myself was “Happiness is a Choice” by Drs. Frank Minirth and Paul Meier. Both books helped me to look at myself and examine the source of my anger, my expectations of other people, and to re-evaluate what was important in my life. They taught me how to manage and take ownership of my emotions. A very good friend once said, “Nobody makes you mad; you choose to be mad.” He was so right. My emotions are under my control unless I give that control to someone else. I still get mad sometimes but I handle it better now and no one gets hurt, not even me. Thanks for reading my blog.


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