Anger: The Mismanaged Emotion

Sandra P. Thomas


Dermatology Nursing. 2003;15(4) 

In This Article

Commonalities and Differences

These studies demonstrated several commonalities between the anger experiences of men and women. Clearly, traditional gender role socialization for femininity and masculinity does not contribute to intelligent anger management. Both men and women are conflicted about anger, telling their anger stories with embarrassed hesitance and nervous laughter. Regardless of gender, guilt and self-recrimination are frequently reported, especially if anger outbursts caused others pain.

Some gender differences were observed as well. Women frequently used the word "hurt" and had difficulty separating their anger from feelings of "hurt," but very few men ever used the word. Women reported that crying was common while angry; men did not. The bodily experience of anger also differs, as depicted metaphorically. For women, it consisted of a slow-boiling internal agitation; for men, it was a fire or flood that swept them along with its force. While women's anger was provoked mainly within their closest relationships, men's anger was often provoked by strangers, faulty mechanical objects, or global societal issues in which a principle was at stake. These findings are consistent with Gilligan's (1982) conceptualization of differences in the moral reasoning of men and women. She concluded that the morality of men was principled and abstract, focused on obtaining justice, while the morality of women was based on caring relational values.


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