For women, suppressing anger may be lethal. Men, it seems, can live with it. That is the finding of University of Michigan epidemiologist Mara Julius and colleagues in a follow-up study of death rates among 696 persons first studied in 1971-72.
At that time, each of the subjects, then age 30 to 69, was given a brief physical exam and a set of standardized tests used to determine psychosocial well-being.
Eighteen years later, the researchers found that women who had scored high on the Harburg Suppressed Anger Scale were three times more likely to have died than women with low scores. By contrast, males' scores showed only marginal correlation with mortality rates.
Anger can matter for males, however: Men who had both high suppressed anger and high blood pressure were nearly twice as likely to die as men with only one of those conditions.