Anger is more likely among the young, those with children at home, and the less educated, a new study finds.
A national survey of 1,800 Americans aged 18 and older questioned participants on how and when they feel angry in order to build "a broader social portrait of anger in the United States," said study researcher Scott Schieman, now at the University of Toronto.
These angry emotions range from mild annoyance to yelling and feelings of outrage.
While anger is a normal human emotion, it could be detrimental if you hold on to it too long. And those who express their anger might actually live longer than those who keep it bottled in, one study found.
The results of the survey, conducted in 2005 and to be published next year, showed several key connections to anger.
For one, people under 30 experienced anger of all forms or intensities more frequently than did older adults. This was mainly due to the fact that young people are more likely to be affected by three core stressors that can trigger angry feelings, Schieman said:
- Time pressures
- Economic hardship
- Interpersonal conflict at the workplace
Time pressures had the strongest link to anger, especially low-grade versions termed "feelings of annoyance," the study found.
Those who were under financial strain tended to report higher levels of anger, a connection that could be particularly important in today's flagging economy, Schieman noted. The financial influence tended to be stronger among women and younger adults.
Having children was also associated with angry feelings and behaviors, such as yelling, particularly in women, the survey found.
"There's obviously a lot of joys and benefits that come with parenthood," but other aspects of parenting, such as having to discipline a misbehaving child, can cause feelings of anger and annoyance, Schieman said.
Those with fewer years of education were also more likely to report feelings of anger and were less likely to respond proactively in a situation that made them angry (for example, talking about what made them angry).
"It underscores the power of getting more education," Schieman said. Education has been linked to feeling more self-control, which could be why those with more education tend to manage their anger more proactively, he told LiveScience.
Schieman's findings will be detailed in a chapter of the forthcoming International Handbook of Anger, to be released in January 2010.
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Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.