Women and anger: gender and sex role differences in anger expression and their effects on depression and self
Women's experience and expression of anger and the relationships existing among various aspects of anger and important indices of mental health were investigated. Gender and sex role differences were also explored. The subjects for this study were 456 college students from a large midwestern university, including 242 women and 213 men. Subjects ranged in age from 18 years to 54 years old. All subjects were administered a test booklet consisting of several instruments measuring demographic characteristics, sex-role classification, anger, hostility, aggressiveness, assertiveness, depression, and other mental health indices. The results indicated that sex role classification was associated with individual differences in anger proneness, the tendency to express anger toward other people or objects in the environment, anger suppression, and anger control. The results also indicated a relationship among various aspects of anger and depression, lack of self-confidence, passive-aggressiveness, conflict avoidance, dependency, resentment, and guilt. Gender and sex role were correlated and both appeared to affect subjects' experience and expression of anger viewed multivariately. For women, suppression of anger appears to be most problematic. These findings suggest that there are different patterns of experiencing and expressing anger, that the patterns are significantly related to gender and sex role, and that the patterns are differentially related to mental health problems or risks.