High Anger Expression Exacerbates the Relationship Between Age and Metabolic Syndrome

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Abstract

Objective.

Building on prior work linking high anger expression to poor health, this cross-sectional study addressed whether anger expression exacerbated age-related risk for metabolic syndrome in a national sample of adults, known as MIDUS (Midlife in the United States).

Method.

Respondents reported anger expression via survey assessments and completed an overnight clinic visit.

Results.

Unadjusted metabolic syndrome prevalence was 40.6%. Men, less educated individuals, and those who reported not getting regular physical activity were at significantly higher risk for metabolic syndrome. Anger expression did not predict higher risk for metabolic syndrome in main effects models, but it moderated the relationship between age and metabolic syndrome. Age-associated risk for metabolic syndrome was significant only for adults with high anger expression.

Discussion.

Among older adults, anger expression predicted higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Older adults reporting low anger expression had metabolic syndrome rates comparable to younger adults. Results highlight that failing to show the frequently observed decline in anger expression with age may have pernicious health concomitants.

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