Anger has been shown to have an effect on blood pressure, and studies have also shown an effect for anger suppression. This paper will provide a critique of an article by Sandra P. Thomas which looked at the effect of anger suppression on blood pressure in women.
Several factors are known to be involved in the development of essential hypertension, including genetic predisposition, parental history of cardiovascular disorders, phases of the menstrual cycle, environmental influences, behavior patterns, and coping strategies (Fontana, Pontari and Nash, 1998). This article starts out with a general assessment of the problem, then addresses the reasons for this particular study: the assumption that women's anger experiences are frequent and/or intense, and that suppression of anger may be important in predicting who will develop hypertension (p. 324).
Next follows a review of the literature studying these issues and points out the failings in many of these studies (p. 325). Most of the references are reasonably current, but no really new sources are cited, and some cited articles are more than 20 years old. The review criticizes previous studies for such things as a badly selected samples which are non-representative of the normal population, the artificiality of the laboratory setting of many studies, non-standardization of tools and procedures, and failing to account for gender differences and environmental variables.
The aim of the study in this article was to examine the relationship between anger frequency, intensity, and suppression to blood pressure, and to see if there were differences in these parameters between women with respect to age, family history of hypertension, and marital status (p. 324). The rationale for the study was that previous studies have shown women often suppress anger, and having coping strategies helps to lower BP (Fontana, Pontari and Nash, 1998).
The problem with the design of the stud...