Anger Expression in Couples: How Does Each Partner’s Personality Influence the Other’s Expression of Anger?



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How members of romantic couples behave when compelled to express their anger and how they respond to the anger of their partners determines whether problems are resolved or whether the conflicts escalate and lead to the deterioration of relational bonds. Attachment researchers have observed that adult attachment characteristics are related to patterns of anger expression, with more secure individuals generally expressing anger less frequently and in more adaptive ways than more insecure individuals. However, the research that links attachment characteristics to anger coping styles is limited in that it does not examine how one relationship partner might influence the other’s expression of anger. The purpose of the current study was to extend previous research by collecting data from both members of a relationship to examine how one partner’s personality characteristics influence the other’s anger-related behavior. A key assumption examined was that the quality of one partner’s responses to another’s anger would predict the other’s anger-related behavior. In order to deal with the problem of nonindependent data, hypotheses were tested using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM), a data analytic strategy that takes into account the nonindependence of dyadic data. Results suggest that both partners’ personality attributes may play a role in one another’s anger-related behavior.



Anger expression, Romantic attachment, Actor-Partner Interdependence Model