Attachment-related differences in dispositional anger and its experience and expression following an insult-based anger induction
Brodie, Zara P.
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Brodie, Z.P., Goodall, K., Darling, S. and McVittie, C. (2022) ‘Attachment-related differences in dispositional anger and its experience and expression following an insult-based anger induction’, Personality and Individual Differences, 199, p. 111864. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2022.111864.
Variation in how individuals experience and express anger has been linked to their attachment style, particularly in close interpersonal contexts. However, little research has investigated attachment-related differences in anger and aggression in non-attachment-based settings. This multi-method investigation reports two studies. The first investigated associations between anger and adult attachment dimensions in 270 participants. The second describes a lab-based anger provocation task which examined associations between attachment and pre-post-test change in self-reported anger, physiological responses, anger suppression and aggressive responding (N = 77). Results from study 1 indicate that attachment anxiety was a significant independent predictor of trait anger, while attachment avoidance was not. There were no significant interaction effects, suggesting distinct effects of attachment dimensions on anger. In study 2, attachment avoidance was negatively related to anger change scores from baseline to post-provocation and positively to anger suppression. Attachment anxiety was positively associated with aggressive responding. These findings support the high arousal-low control style previously associated with attachment anxiety, evidenced by elevated trait anger and aggressive responding. They also align with previous studies that support an association between attachment avoidance and emotion suppression, suggesting that the attachment framework can be usefully extended to understand anger and aggression in non-attachment-based contexts.