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.