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Effects of Anger Expressive Suppression on Cardiac Response
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Previous research lacked clarity on how expressive suppression of anger affects human well-being. Maladaptive regulation of emotion has been linked to mental, behavioral, and physiological health (Hopp, Troy, & Mauss, 2011; Cisler, Olatunji, Feldner, & Forsyth, 2010; Mauss & Gross 2004). The main purpose of this study is to determine how cardiac response, specifically cardiac interbeat intervals (IBI), alter when suppressing expression of anger. Twenty undergraduate students were recruited from the University of Nevada, Reno and were randomly assigned to one of two experimental groups: those instructed to suppress any facial expressions that indicate emotional arousal and those instructed to pay attention in response to an anger-induction. The stimulation of anger involved negatively criticizing participants on a writing task they were instructed to complete, using harsh and derogatory language. The results from the study revealed that expressive suppression of anger decreases cardiac responding. Additionally, following anger-induction, there were no differences in cardiac interbeat intervals or subjective levels of frustration and tension between groups. Implications for the understanding of the effects of anger suppression are fundamental for overall human health.