Suppressed Anger and Response to Facial Expressions of Emotion

Date of Award

August 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Randall S. Jorgensen


Emotion recognition, Social evaluative threat, Suppressed anger

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Because emotion recognition may play an important role in healthy relationships, researchers have begun to investigate whether impairments in the response to and recognition of facial emotional expressions contribute to the etiology and maintenance of interpersonal problems. To date it remains unclear whether anger suppression is associated with the perceived emotional expression of others. Accordingly, this study sought to examine whether individuals with a suppressed anger profile differ from a non-suppressed anger profile in their response to and recognition of facial expressions of emotion. In a prior study, participants viewed a series of short videos in which a face changed from a neutral expression to a full expression of emotion (happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust). In the following study, measures of anger expression, hostility-guilt, and social defensiveness were cluster analyzed to create a suppressed anger profile (low anger expression, high hostility guilt, and high social defensiveness) and a non-suppressed anger profile from a sample of college students who responded to the videos selected from the first study. Results indicate that individuals with a tripartite profile of suppressed anger perceive the facial expressions of emotions differently than individuals who do not have a tripartite profile of suppressed anger. Specifically, individuals with a tripartite personality profile perceive respond slower to facial expressions of anger than individuals without a suppressed anger profile, rate facial expressions of anger as more pleasurable and more less exciting than individuals without a suppressed anger profile, and rate fear as less pleasurable than individuals without a suppressed anger profile. Further analyses found blood pressure to moderate these relationships. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.


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