In some cultures, anger could actually be linked with better, and not worse health, a new study reveals.
Psychological scientist Shinobu Kitayama of the University of Michigan said that many of the people in Western societies naively believe that anger is bad for health, and beliefs like these appear to be bolstered by recent scientific findings and the study suggests that the truism linking anger to ill health may be valid only within the cultural boundary of the 'West', where anger functions as an index of frustration, poverty, low status and everything else that potentially compromises health.
The researchers said that findings show how socio-cultural factors go under the skin to influence vital biological processes.
The study found that anger can function as a signal of high status and privilege in Asia-drawing on this, they hypothesized that greater expression of anger might be associated with better health among Asian participants.
The data revealed that greater anger expression was associated with increased biological health risk among American participants, as previous studies have shown.
But greater anger expression was associated with reduced biological health risk among Japanese participants. The association was not explained by other potentially related factors-such as age, gender, chronic health conditions, smoking and alcohol consumption, social status, and experience of negative emotions more generally.
The study was published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.