What's the use in getting mad? Anger and instrumentality in women's relationships


In two studies, we examined women's anger expression and its instrumental function in relationships by addressing the following questions: What is the relationship between women's self-reports of instrumentality and their perceived styles of anger expression? In what ways and situations do women see their anger expression as instrumental or goal enhancing? In Study I, we expected that women's perceived styles of anger expression would be positively related to instrumentality, as measured with the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ; Spence, Helmreich, & Stapp, JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 4, 43, 1974). Although our hypothesis was not supported, a positive relationship did emerge between assertiveness and instrumentality, as predicted. In Study II, we conducted three focus group discussions to elucidate women's experiences of anger and to provide clarification for the results of Study I. We identified group themes related to when women experienced their anger expression as instrumental as well as when women perceived themselves as noninstrumental in anger-arousing situations. In their narratives, women explained how they make decisions about expressing their anger based on relationship concerns.


Counseling, Leadership, and Special Education

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Health Care for Women International