Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Anger and Hypertension
The causes of chronically elevated blood pressure, formally known as hypertension (HT), are not well understood by medical scientists and practitioners although there has been a long-standing belief that mental or emotional factors may be involved. During the 1930s-1950s, psychoanalytically oriented practitioners and researchers, representing the psychosomatic movement, emphasized that mental and emotional distress can contribute to the development of physical disorders. Two leaders of the psychosomatic movement, Flanders Dunbar and Franz Alexander, proposed that inhibition of angry feelings contributes to the development of HT. They reasoned that hostile provocation typically is associated with increases in blood pressure (BP), but after the anger is expressed, BP typically decreases. However, according to the anger-suppression hypothesis, some persons are personally predisposed to suppress their rage. This leads to recurrent autonomic arousal, which eventually leads to chronically elevated BP. According to this idea, the habitual tendency to suppress angry feelings was conceptualized From ...