Positive Aspects of Anger

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By Annie Jones
Annie is a junior, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Development, Human Biology, and German. After graduating from UWGB, she plans on attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison for their Genetic Counseling Master’s program.

A Goodbye Message (that you will climb like a tree)

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Dear Graduates,

Once again, I’ve been asked to write a goodbye message like the Mean Girls and Pitch Perfect ones I wrote last year and the year before.  This year, though, I wasn’t really feeling it.  I kept trying but everything just came out like a very sad handwritten book.

Anyway, instead, I just thought I would tell you all how thankful I am to have been able to teach you these last few years.  People ask me why I enjoy working with college students so much.  They say things like “when they reach that age, ugh. Disgusting. They smell, they’re sticky, they say things that are horrible.”  I get that, but I just really love teaching.

And I think I’m pretty good at it.  There were days when my lectures were so good, it felt like it was coming out of me like lava!  Honestly! I had a student shout out to me, “You’re really doing it, aren’t ya?”  The funny thing about teaching, though, is that even when I think I’m doing well, I sometimes get terrible course evaluations.  Students write things like, “you know, you’re not as popular as you think you are,” “you look like an old mop, “I feel bad for your parents,” or even “you’re an old, single loser who’s never going to have any friends.”  I’m not going to lie, that last one hurt a little.  I mean, why can’t you be happy for me and then go home and talk about me behind my back like a normal person?

Fortunately, though, for every five or six really mean ones, there’s at least one sort of nice one.  Last semester, someone wrote that I am more beautiful than Cinderella and that I smell like pine needles, and have a face like sunshine!  It was a weird thing to write, but nice.

Of course, being a professor isn’t all about teaching.  I do a lot of research, advise students, and even supervise a few student organizations.  I’ll tell you something, students really tell us some deep secrets sometimes.  They think we’re just like priests… except we would tell everybody afterwards.   I had way too many advisees too.  I think I overcommitted with 9.  Six is a comfortable number.  My student organizations were into some weird stuff too that kept me on my toes.  One student suggested an event where we all come dressed as our favorite Pixar character, and another student was like, “or a Fight Club, a female fight club.”  I had to put a stop to that quick. Thanks. But…um, no way! No way in hell!

But enough about me.  This should be about you and the journey ahead.  I’m not going to lie to you, it’s going to be tough.  You’re going to be like, “help me, I’m poor.” You’re going to try and blame the world for your problems.  You going to hit rock-bottom, but I want you to know that hitting bottom is a good thing. Because there’s nowhere to go but up.  Plus, I don’t associate with people who blame the world for their problems. You are your problem. You are also your solution.  Do you think my life has always been easy?  I had it rough when I was in school.  They called me a freak. Do you think I let that break me? Think I went home to my mommy crying; ‘Oh, I don’t have any friends.’ No, I did not. You know what I did? I pulled myself up. I studied really hard. I read every book in the library and now I work for the government. I have the highest possible security clearance. Don’t repeat that!

Whoa, sorry about that.  I’m obviously working through some stuff.

Don’t worry about me, though.  I’m gonna be fine. So don’t worry, okay? I’m gonna be…I’m gonna be fine. I am fine. And besides, you need to blaze the trail for me and then report back and tell me what’s coming.  So, in short, I would just like to say to you and to everyone here, “Gracias para vivar en la casa, en la escuelas, en… en la azul… “markada”. Tienes con “bibir” en las Fortuashla?” and gracias!

Yup, I would like to invite you to no longer live with us.  It’s time to graduate. This is so awkward. I really want you to leave, but I don’t know how to say it without sounding like a… jerk.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love you all and will miss you.  Honestly, I really will miss each and every one of you.  You are such a stone-cold pack of weirdos, and I am so proud!

Sincerely,

Ryan Martin

PS. If this all came out wrong, I want to apologize. I’m not even confident on which end it came out of.

Music Matters

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listening-headphonesEveryone knows that music is relevant to mood.  In fact, a previous All the Rage post explored the role of music in inducing anger, with unexpected results. Recent research by Hakvoort, Bogaerts, Thaut, and Spreen (2015) showed that music therapy can actually accelerate the process of behavioral and emotional change.  More specifically, their findings suggested that music therapy, define as “the use of musical intervention grounded in cognitive-behavioral therapy,” had more positive coping skills, were more likely to ask for help, and more likely to accept situations as they are.

These participants also better demonstrated the emotional management skills necessary to be successful in real life angering situations, even preventing violent outbreaks as compared to a control group.  Not only was music therapy shown to improve anger coping strategies, it also increased the patients ability to cope with other areas of their lives.  Finally, the authors argue that one way in which music is valuable is that there is evidence that it stimulates the release of endorphins, which are key chemicals to improving mood.

The authors identify four stages to the music therapy method.  In the first stage, patients make and listen to different types of music.  Next, patients are taught different techniques to reduce tension and are educated regarding the phases of anger.  Third, patients are made aware of the specific situations that illicit anger or aggression.  Finally, patients are coached to apply their personalized coping skills to manage their anger without the assistance of the therapist.

By Chelsea Giles
Chelsea is a senior planning to graduate in May of 2016 with a major in Psychology and minors in Human Development and Spanish. She plans to attend graduate school to earn her Ph.D in Counseling Psychology.

Fact Check: Are Men Really More Aggressive Drivers?

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It’s common knowledge that men tend to have higher auto insurance rates, and part of the reason for this is that  they are thought to be more aggressive drivers. In other words, they are believed to be more likely to do things like…

  • indicate hostility to other drivers,
  • honk their horns at another driver, or even
  • chase other cars

So do men do those things more often than women?

Well in short, yes.

Here’s how we know.

In 2005, Roberts and Indermaur found that men were almost eight times more likely than females to be perpetrators in an act of driving violence. At the same time, though, men were also significantly more likely to have been threatened by another driver while on the road. In fact, they found that one in five males reported being victims of what could be classified as criminal road rage compared to merely one in 14 females. Meanwhile, in a more recent study, Wickens and colleagues found that while both men and women confessed to being perpetrators as far as shouting, swearing, and making rude gestures, men were still more likely to execute such acts.

One of the bigger questions one needs to answer regarding whether or not males are truly more aggressive drivers is: what makes one driver more aggressive than another? Researchers have found that younger drivers, both male and female, tend to be more aggressive than older drivers. Additionally, consistent with these findings, Wickens and colleagues (2012) have also found that males still tend to partake in more aggressive driving than females do, despite their age (as shown below; Wickens, Mann, Stoduto, Butters, Ialomiteanu, & Smart, 2012).

Capture

In addition to aggressive driving and perpetrating acts of violence when driving, males admitted receiving more fines, committing more traffic violations, and being involved in more accidents in the previous five years than females (González-Iglesias, Gómez-Fraguela, & Luengo-Martín, 2012).

Taken together, the data reveals that while both men and women can be aggressive drivers, men are more likely to be aggressive drivers than women.

By Gracie Kellow
Gracie is a senior at UWGB who plans on graduating in December 2016 as a Psychology major with a mental health emphasis and a minor in Human Development. After graduation, she plans on attending law school.


González-Iglesias, B., Gómez-Fraguela, J., & Luengo-Martín, M. &. (2012). Driving anger and traffic violations: Gender differences. Transportation Research, 404-412. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.trf.2012.03.002

Roberts, L., & Indermaur, D. (2005). Boys and road rage: Driving-related violence and aggression in western Australia. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 38, 361-380. http://dx.doi.org/10.1375/acri.38.3.361

Wickens, C., Mann, R., Stoduto, G., Butters, J., Ialomiteanu, A., & Smart, R. (2012). Does gender moderate the relationship between driver aggression and its risk factors? Accident Analysis and Prevention, 45, 10-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2011.11.013

Is Fighting Among Siblings Harmful?

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1For many families, siblings fighting can be a common occurrence. The phrase “kids will be kids” is often spoken by parents who just believe their kids are just acting the way most kids do. However, could this behavior between siblings be harmful? Neil Tippett and Dieter Wolke set out to investigate this idea in their research study on aggression between siblings and its associations with the home environment and peer bullying.

To conduct this experiment, published in Aggressive Behavior, they used the longitudinal panel survey conducted annually in the United Kingdom. This survey is conducted over a few years and asks one member of the household to complete an interview. Along with this, children between 10 and 15 years-old in these households are asked to complete a questionnaire. The sample included more than 4,000 participants between the ages of 10-15 years-old. They asked questions about siblings fighting with a scale of never too few times every week to rate four different types of fighting which included: physical aggression, stealing, verbal abuse, and teasing. For school bullying they asked six different questions; two questions about if the youth were bullied by their peers, two were modified from the Peer and Friendship Interview and measured physical bullying, and lastly relational bulling. The most prevalent types of fighting where physical, verbal, and teasing.

One of the main findings from this study was that siblings fighting is very common. They found that one third of the children were regularly involved in fighting with one’s sibling. Another finding shows a moderate to strong association between sibling’s fighting and peer bullying. Given some evidence that victimization by siblings was linked to being bullied and for child who did the aggression were more often to bully others at school.

Parenting characteristics were found to have a strong link with siblings fighting. In households with poor relationships and harsh parenting predicted more fighting between siblings. However, the results of the study showed that in houses with positive parenting and good relationships with their children can reduce levels of fighting. These children are also found to be better adjusted at school.

By Annie Jones
Annie is a junior, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Development, Human Biology, and German. After graduating from UWGB, she plans on attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison for their Genetic Counseling Master’s program.

Tippett, N., & Wolke, D. (2015). Aggression between siblings: Associations with the home environment and peer bullying. Aggressive Behavior, 41, 14-24. doi:10.1002/ab.21557

 

 

Anger Management Tip: 4 ways to stop ruminating

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ACS SurveyRuminating is the tendency to go over and over an angering event in your mind.  We think about what we could have said, should have said, etc. Though ruminating isn’t all bad (it helps us process negative events to make sense of them), it’s not particularly good for us and it is important to find ways to keep it under control. Here are four strategies to stop ruminating.

  1. Engage in activities that foster positive thoughts (e.g., exercise, a hobby).
  2. Problem solve by coming up with one concrete thing you can do to address the angering situation.
  3. Think less about the event and more about the core feeling that might be driving the anger (e.g., are you feeling angry because you are hurt, sad, scared, etc.).
  4. Practice mindfulness.

Can Hostile Personality Traits Lead to Health Problems?

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In short, yes, but it is more complicated than it seems.

angry driverIt has been long argued that hostility leads to health problems, but to some it seems far-fetched that a personality trait could really be capable of having long term effects on one’s well-being. This article aims to explore the belief that those with hostile personalities are more prone to health problems, especially cardiac related issues.

In their 2004 literature review published in the Journal of Personality, Smith and colleagues found that hostility was not only associated with coronary heart disease, but also with premature mortality.  They defined hostility as “a devaluation of the worth and motives of others, an expectation that others are likely sources of wrong-doing, a relational view of being in opposition toward others, and a desire to inflict harm or see others harmed.’’  Their review found that hostility is not only associated with developing coronary heart disease, but that it also affects the severity of the disease. Research has shown increased recurrent myocardial infractions in women who had higher levels of hostility.  Men with increased levels of hostility, who had already experienced a cardiovascular event, showed risks of cardiovascular death five times higher than those with lower levels of hostility.

Hostility has also been associated with health issues in younger generations. In their 2003 study published in Health Psychology, Räikkönen and colleagues found a correlation between hostility and the risk for metabolic syndrome in children and adolescents. Metabolic syndrome, which they defined as, “having at least two risk factors above the 75th percentile of the distributions of scores for the same age, ethnicity, and gender groups” including BMI and Insulin Resistance was assessed initially and also at a three-year follow up.  Their study found that children who had high levels of hostility were more likely to have metabolic syndrome during their follow-up.  Räikkönen and colleagues outlined the importance of evaluating behavioral risks as a means for early intervention and prevention.

Although there is ample research to support the link between hostility and coronary heart disease, there may be factors aside from hostility that play a role in this link (I told you it was more complicated than it seems). In a 2004 meta-analysis, Smith and colleagues also discussed other potential reasons for the link between hostility and coronary heart disease. They suggested that the correlation could potentially be due to hostile people having a less healthy lifestyle. A third-factor variable, in this case an unhealthy lifestyle, would then be the cause for the link between hostility and coronary heart disease. They also point out that hostility is not the only thing linked to coronary heart disease; depression and lower socio-economic status are linked to the disease as well.

Although not all research supports the link between higher levels of hostility and coronary heart disease, most researchers agree upon the notion that cognitive and behavioral interventions can help to reduce anger and hostility. One specific way to help reduce hostility is to forgive more. Nava Silton and colleagues (2013) found a negative correlation between forgiveness and hostility in their study published in the Journal of Adult Development. That is, when forgiveness increases, hostility decreases. Whatever the method may be, it is important to decrease hostile behavior early in life in order to lessen the likelihood of developing coronary heart disease or other health related problems.

By Nermana Turajlic
Nermana is a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Development. She plans on graduating in December 2016 and attending graduate school the following year.

Räikkönen, K., Matthews, K. A., & Salomon, K. (2003). Hostility predicts metabolic syndrome risk factors in children and adolescents. Health Psychology, 22, 279-286.

Silton, N. R., Flannelly, K. J., & Lutjen, L. J. (2013). It pays to forgive! Aging,             forgiveness, hostility, and health. Journal Of Adult Development, 20, 222-231.

Smith, T. W., Glazer, K., Ruiz, J. M., & Gallo, L. C. (2004). Hostility, anger,             aggressiveness, and coronary heart disease: An interpersonal perspective on             personality, emotion, and health. Journal Of Personality, 72, 1217-1270.