Anger and anxiety in older adults: a cross-lagged examination

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Objectives: Both anger and anxiety are common in older adulthood, with aversive consequences for individuals’ physical and mental health. Theory suggests that anger can be an emotional response to the experience of anxiety. Similarly, anger can induce anxiety symptoms. Despite studies documenting the co-occurrence of anger and anxiety and their strong theoretical links, little is known about their temporal relationship. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the longitudinal cross-lagged relationship between anger expression, anger suppression, and anxiety. Methods: A large and representative sample of older adults (N=6,852) was utilized, with data collected in two waves at an interval of four years. All variables were measured using validated self-report scales.Data were analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling. Results: Results indicate that both anger suppression and anger expression are significant predictors of anxiety symptoms. Similarly, anxiety is a significant predictor of both anger suppression and anger expression. Conclusions: The effects did not differ in magnitude, suggesting a balanced reciprocity between anger and anxiety. An understanding of this reciprocal association can inform interventions and strategies aimed at promoting emotional well-being in older individuals. By addressing both anger and anxiety concurrently, interventions may have a more comprehensive impact on improving mental health outcomes in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalAging and Mental Health
Early online date22 Mar 2024
StateE-pub ahead of print - 22 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • anger expression
  • anger suppression
  • Anger-in
  • anger-out
  • anxiety
  • cross-lagged

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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