Anger Makes You Feel Stronger: The Positive Influence of Trait Anger in a Real-Life Experiment

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Abstract

Although anger as a negative emotion is associated with unpleasantness, recent research on anger highlights its motivational effect. The present study tested whether individuals experience both, an unpleasant and an activating affect, after real-life provocations. Results revealed that an anger situation evoked not only typical subjective and cardiovascular anger reactions but also a sense of strength, which is a positive affect. A comparison of participants with low versus high anger disposition according to the STAXI-2 at baseline, treatment, and recovery showed that participants with high trait anger consistently scored higher in subjective ratings of feeling strong than their counterparts did. Moreover, we found a larger and longer lasting effect of feeling strong than feeling angry after an anger treatment. Thus, differences in anger disposition influence the positive correlation between trait anger and positive affect.

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