Anger expression, body fat, and blood pressure in adolescents: Project HeartBeat!

William H. Mueller*, Jo Anne Grunbaum, Darwin R. Labarthe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This study explores the potential influence of growth, body/composition, and sexual maturity on the relation of anger expression and blood pressure in adolescents. Baseline data from Project HeartBeat! (82 boys and 85 girls, 14 years of age) examined the ability of anger expression (STAXI scale) to predict blood pressure, after controlling for the effects of ethnicity (African-American/non-African-American), height, weight, percentage body fat, and sexual maturity. Blood pressures were unrelated to anger expression in models that included the above developmental variables. However, girls scoring high on healthy anger expression ("anger-control") had significantly lower levels of percentage body fat (P = 0.015) independent of the above factors. The literature suggests that body fat or body mass is often, though not unanimously, associated with unhealthy forms of anger expression in adolescents. Research is required into the biological, social, and behavioral origins of the association between body fat and anger expression. Height and sexual maturity, virtually ignored in this literature, should be included in future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-538
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics

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