Adolescent Sex and Age Differences in Anger

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Parents, teachers, and adults in all walks of life have become familiar with the trope of angry teenagers, quite often through firsthand experience. Despite these and other sweeping generalizations, not all adolescents experience or express anger in the same manner according to a 2018 study in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science. Drs. Tracy K. Y. Wong, Chiaki Konishi, and Kedi Zhao sought to uncover sex and age differences in students ranging from grade 8 through grade 12.

Seven hundred and sixty-six Western Canadian teens participated in the study by completing surveys regarding tendency to experience based on both non-provoking and provoking events, and to what degree that anger was internally or externally expressed. Comparisons were then made looking at group data across grade and sex.

The McGill University researchers predicted that boys would report experiencing more anger and that girls would report less expression of anger along with better techniques for emotional regulation.

Results of the study revealed sex differences that did not match these hypotheses. Boys and girls did not differ in the frequency of experiencing anger, though surprisingly girls were less likely to control their outward expression of anger compared to boys. In light of these findings the authors suggest that more research is needed in this area.

The most notable differences in the study were on comparisons across the grade level of participants. Grade 12 students were found to experience anger without provocation more often than their Grade 8 counterparts, while older students were simultaneously more likely to suppress their expression of anger than those in lower grade levels. A tentative reason for this phenomenon is that older adolescents suppress their anger in order to avoid negative social consequences.

What do these findings mean for those who work with or are around adolescents? Merely suppressing anger is shown to be a negative coping strategy and linked to problematic behaviors such as bullying. In response, the researchers suggest that efforts are made to educate adolescents on adaptive ways of regulating anger, particularly in the case of older teens.


Wong, T. K. Y., Konishi, C., & Zhao, K. (2018). Anger and anger regulation among adolescents:A consideration of sex and age differences. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue Canadienne Des Sciences Du Comportement, 50, 1-8.


By Brandon Moroni
The essay was based on an assignment for his senior capstone course.

Are Anger Management Programs Effective for Controlling Anger?

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therapy-group-title-image_tcm7-162394Do anger management programs improve adolescents’ ability to cope with anger and increase their self-esteem? According to a study, by Lök, Bademli, and Canbaz (2018), anger management programs do help. A major finding of the study revealed that after people completed the anger management program, their anger-related symptoms reduced significantly. It was also found that those who completed the anger management program also saw a significant increase in self-esteem levels.

The study consisted of administering two different tests to each participant before and after they completed an anger management program. The first test measured each participants’ anger-related emotions and behaviors and the second test measured each participants’ self-esteem levels. Each participant completed an anger management program to test how their anger and self-esteem would be affected after completion. The anger management program consisted of six sessions with the first three session lasting 45 minutes each and the last three sessions lasting 60 minutes each.

The basis of this study was to showcase the positive effects anger management programs have on the way adolescents’ display their anger and self-esteem towards others. Anger management education is a way of increasing the ability to cope with anger and improve someone’s overall self-esteem. People who struggle with anger-related symptoms, are involved in situations that will cause anger, and have anger-related ideas and behaviors could benefit from participating in an anger management program. One of the most expected results that come from anger management education is the positive, cognitive changes in a person’s emotions and behaviors after anger is experienced by that person. It is important for people to be able to become educated about how to handle their emotions and act during situations that would induce a level of anger.


Lök, N., Bademli, K., & Canbaz, M. (2018). The effects of anger management education on adolescents’ manner of displaying anger and self-esteem: A randomized controlled trial. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 32, 75-81.


92F78863-6102-4208-A7CC-EEC2B8F531B3By Mackenzi LaMarre

Mackenzi is a senior double majoring in Psychology and Human Development. She will attend the University of Lakeland to pursue a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  This article was based on an assignment in her senior psychology capstone course.

Culture Differences in Emotion

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Whether or not emotions are experienced consistently across different cultures has been researched for decades. On one side, psychologists who believe emotion is a universal construct view emotional experience as being biologically based. For example, Dr. Paul Ekman, an emotion psychologist, claims that emotions are genetically determined, meaning that facial expressions of emotions are interpreted the same way across most cultures. Dr. Nangyeon Lim, on the other hand, argues in the 2016 article Cultural differences in emotion: Differences in emotional arousal level between the East and the West that we should not dismiss the cultural component that influences emotions in a variety of ways. Studies show that emotions are not only biologically determined but also influenced by environmental, social, and/or cultural situations.

According to Lim, Eastern culture refers to that of East Asian countries like Korea, Japan, and China. Being connected to and interdependent on others is considered a valuable part of what makes up the cultures of these countries and is identified as collectivism. Those in collectivist cultures work to fit into the groups they are in by adjusting themselves as to not influence others. This explains why in Eastern culture it is more desirable to experience emotions that produce low arousal allowing them to conform to those within their group. The ideology is that causing conflict works against the harmony of the group. The emotions Lim lists as being low arousal include contented, at ease, relaxed, peaceful, depressed, sleepy, sad, miserable, etc.

Western culture, on the other hand, Lim explains, refers to the cultures of North American and Western European countries. These countries value the uniqueness of the individual, encouraging its members to express their feelings and influence those around them. Western culture, also known as individualist culture, hold emotions that incite high arousal as ideal for this reason. Lim lists high arousal emotions as enthusiastic, joyful, happy, excited, afraid, angry, irritated, hostile, etc.

There is a belief in Korean or Chinese medicine that humans experience seven emotions: joy, anger, sadness, pleasure, love, greed, and hatred. Those that believe this consider excessive emotional experiences to be harmful and to even go as far as causing diseases, even if they are experiencing positive emotions. Hwabyung, or “anger syndrome” is a disease frequently reported in Korean culture and is said to be the result of suppressing anger which is a high arousal emotion.

Cultures influence our ideal affect, or the way that ideally, we want to feel. This causes us to behave in certain ways so that we feel the emotion we believe we should be experiencing. Americans emphasize happiness as being an upbeat emotion, while the Chinese idea of happiness focuses on being solemn and reserved. Happiness, in this context, is a universal emotion experienced culturally.


Lim, N. (2016). Cultural differences in emotion: Differences in emotional arousal level between the East and the West. Integrative Medicine Research, 5, 105-109. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.imr.2016.03.004


 

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By Haley Falcon

Haley Falcon is a senior majoring in Psychology with minors in Human Development and History. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, she plans on using her degree to pursue new opportunities.

Losing Control: This Feels More Achievable

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We’ve spent the series so far talking about what it looks like when we lose control. Join us for our last rage of this special series on Losing Control where we are joined once again by anger and aggression researcher Dr. Brad Bushman. We take this episode to talk about what you can do when you feel like you’re losing your cool. More specifically, we share some advice on not only strategies to use to cool off, but also how anger can be prosocial.

Guest From the Episode

Losing Control: How Do You Become an Angry, Aggressive Person?

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When it comes to anger, is catharsis truly effective or does it just feel good? This week on All the Rage we look at the catharsis theory and talk about what role venting anger through options like rage rooms play in aggression. Dr. Brad Bushman joins us again to explain his research about what happens when we vent our anger.

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Facial Expressions and Personality Traits

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crabby_womanHaving a happy expression will make you appear more confident in your interactions. This is according to a 2018 study by Ueda and Yoshikawa that found a couple of key findings: First, people with angry facial expressions are seen as having a more dominant and aggressive personality. They are therefore seen as being able to dominate others by physical strength and behaviors. Meanwhile, those with happy expressions are seen as being more dominant than those expressing other emotions due to having a relatively higher social standing than others they are interacting with.

The study involved showing participants pictures of individuals expressing different emotions and participants were asked to rate those pictures based on perceived dominance  In the one person pictures, people with the angrier expressions were seen as more dominant.  Contrary to expectations, the results were different when participants were shown a picture of a two-person interaction. In the two-person interaction, the person who appeared happy was seen as being more dominant than the angry person.

The difference in how people evaluate dominance for individuals versus pairs shows that being more dominant in a social setting is not the result of appearing more ready to dominate others by physical strength and behaviors. Whether a person appears dominant through expressing angry or happy emotions may give insight into their potential behavior. People who appear angry may try to use physical strength and behaviors to obtain their goals. People who appear happy in an interaction, particularly during an argument, may be better able to hide their anger, which allows them to remain calm and appear confident. Their happiness could also imply that they are winning the argument. It is important for people to be able to distinguish between these two types of dominance so that they can understand how they appear in their interactions and so they can evaluate the personality and social standing of others, modifying their own behaviors accordingly.


Ueda, Y., & Yoshikawa, S. (2018). Beyond personality traits: Which facial expressions imply dominance in two-person interaction scenes? Emotion, 18(6), 872-885. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000286


Unknown-225x300by Torrey Lucido

Torrey is a junior majoring in Psychology at The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with and emphasis in Brain, Behavior, and Health. After graduating she plans to earn a graduate degree in occupational therapy and work with patients with brain injury and developmental disabilities.

 

Losing Control: Over 30,00 Americans are Killed Every Year

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In this week’s episode, Ryan is joined by guest co-host Taylor Gulbrand, University of Wisconsin Green Bay senior. The two sit down to discuss road rage, their experience as the victim or perpetrator and what research has to say about it. We then hear an interview with Dr. Brad J. Bushman, Professor of Communication and Psychology and Margaret Hall and Robert Randal Rinehart Chair of Mass Communication, as he talks us through who is most likely to experience road rage and what some potential causes of aggressive driving are.

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Losing Control: It’s About Anger, Frustration, and Violence

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Gather ‘round! Ryan and Chuck start off this episode from the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at UW-Green Bay with a LIVE segment about “mob violence,” then we hear from Dr. Kate Burns, a Psychology and Human Development professor and Associate Dean for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences as she takes us through the psychology of groups. We finish this episode with an interview on mob violence with Dr. Lori H. Rosenthal, Associate Dean for the School of Humanities, Education, Justice, and Social Sciences, for Lasell College where she is also an Associate Professor of Psychology.

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Five Facts About… Curiosity?

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Doing something a little different today as I prepare for a talk on a very different emotion than I usually write about.  I’m about to speak to a group of high school teachers about the value of curiosity in the classroom, so I thought I would post some interesting curiosity facts to get started.

Here they are: