Keywords: Anger / Irritability | Couples / Close Relationships
Presentation Type: Symposium
Anger is most often triggered by those closest to the individual, including by romantic partners (Averill, 1983; Tafrate, Kassinove, & Dundin, 2002). This often leads to negative outcomes in relationships, especially for those who report higher levels of trait anger. Research has not explored why anger is triggered by romantic partners and how anger manifests itself in a romantic relationship. This study explored the relationship of the personality factors of neuroticism and agreeableness to anger in romantic relationships and how it affects the relationship. A survey adapted from Tafrate et al., (2002), along with the Trait Anger Scale (Spielberger, 1988), and the Big Five Inventory (John & Donahue, 1998) was administered to 116 college students, with the final goal of 150 participants. A positive relationship was found between neuroticism and trait anger, r= .51, p< .01. In addition, there was a negative relationship between agreeableness and trait anger r= -.55, p< .01. Thus, individuals who were less likely to be agreeable and more likely to be neurotic were also more likely to report higher levels of trait anger. Within reported romantic relationships, individuals higher on trait anger reported more disruptive outcomes of their anger episodes, r= .52, p< .01. However, not all outcomes of anger episodes in romantic relationships were seen as negative. Participants who reported lower trait anger were more likely to rate anger episodes with their romantic partners as positive, r=.52, p <.01. This is significant as participants who reported anger episodes in their romantic relationships as negative were also more likely to endorse thoughts about seeking revenge on their partner, r= .29, p=.04, and getting revenge on their partner, r= .39, p< .01. These results indicate that demonstrating anger in a romantic relationship is not always negative. On the contrary, it can also lead to positive effects as anger may encourage a dialog between individuals. The relationship of personality factors and anger to revenge is understudied. Additional research can eventually lead to treatments to predict and minimize revenge.
Saturday, November 18
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
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