Relationship of expressed anger to forearm muscle vascular resistance

J Psychosom Res. 1989;33(4):497-504. doi: 10.1016/0022-3999(89)90011-1.


The relationship of style of anger expression to physiological reactivity was examined in 45 nonmedicated subjects during their performance of three tasks with contrasting response demands. The primary physiological focus was on forearm muscle vascular resistance (FMVR) with forearm muscle blood flow (FMBF), digital pulse volume (DPV), digital vascular resistance (DVR), heart rate (HR), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), systolic blood pressure (SBP), and electrodermal frequency (EF) monitored. Family Expressed Anger, i.e. the overtness of anger expression in the subject's family of origin, was related to FMVR such that the more anger was expressed in the family of origin, the greater the vasoconstriction during Mental Arithmetic and the less the vasoconstriction during Anger Imagery. Self Expressed Anger, i.e. the degree to which others were aware when the subject was feeling angry, was related to SBP and DBP during Vigilance with a lesser degree of anger expression going with greater blood pressure increases. The meaning of these findings in relation to task appraisal and task demand is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anger / physiology*
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Forearm / blood supply
  • Galvanic Skin Response
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Imagination
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / blood supply
  • Pulse
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Vascular Resistance
  • Vasoconstriction