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The relationship between happiness and anger in daily life : an experience sampling study

Lehmkühler, A. (2021) The relationship between happiness and anger in daily life : an experience sampling study.

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Abstract:Background. Happiness and anger represent daily emotional experiences for most people. While happiness can be associated with good mental and physical health, anger stands in relation to several mental and physical diseases. Nonetheless, anger can be beneficial, for example in overcoming obstacles, if regulated effectively. This leads to the question how happiness and anger are associated in daily life. Objective. The present study aimed to provide insight to the relation of happiness and anger on momentary state dimension and the more stable trait dimension, which reflects the tendency to experience a certain state emotion more frequently. It was further investigated whether trait happiness is better predicted by average levels of state anger or by a lack of instant anger regulation resulting in a tendency for state anger persistence. For the understanding of state anger, it was researched whether it can be explained by happiness in a between- or within person association. Method. In the present online experience sampling study 53 participants answered trait questionnaires for happiness and anger on their private mobile devices at the beginning of the study. Subsequently, participants rated their state levels of happiness and anger four times a day over the course of one week. Results. A weak significant negative relation for trait happiness and trait anger (r = -.361, p = .008) and a moderately strong significant negative relation for trait happiness and average state anger (r = -.410, p = .002) could be indicated, while no significant association was found for trait anger and average state happiness. State anger persistence could not be shown to predict trait happiness in a linear or cubic regression model. Multilevel analysis indicated state anger to be negatively predicted by happiness in a between- as well as in a within person association (β = -.42, SE = .022, p < .001, CI95[-.46; -.38]; β = -.45, SE = .023, p < .001, CI95[-.49; -.41]) with approximate moderate strength. Conclusion. The findings of a negative relationship of happiness and anger on both state and trait dimension can find practical implementation in anger management and communication strategies. Deeper insight to the underlying mechanisms of these relations need to be shown by future research, in which it is advised to disaggregate between different emotion regulation strategies as they might be crucial to further specify the happiness-anger relationship.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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