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Socio-economic Differences in Hostility Measures - a Population Based Study

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The socio-economic differences in five hostility measures were studied using a population survey that covered 1,547 men and 1,856 women, aged 25-64 years. Respondents completed the cynical distrust (CynDis), trait anger (Anger), anger suppression (AX/In), control (AX/Con), and expression (AX/Out) scales. Respondents in lower socioeconomic status (SES) groups had higher cynical distrust scores but anger expression scores were higher among respondents in higher SES groups. AX/Out and CynDis were not related to each other, but both correlated positively with trait anger. Among lower SES groups trait anger and anger suppression have a strong positive correlation compared to higher SES groups. It can be argued that anger expression reflects higher self-confidence among higher SES groups in their ability to express anger when necessary, while elevated cynicism among lower SES groups may be a consequence of cumulative negative experiences during their respective lifetimes. Divergent results between hostility-related measures on SES variables suggest that the general notion of hostility is too broad a concept to use.
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Keywords: Anger; Education; Health inequalities; Hostility; Income; Socio-economic status

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Helsinki, Department of Social Psychology P.O. Box 9, FIN-00014, Helsinki, Finland and National Public Health Institute, Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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