Personality links to anger: evidence for trait interaction and differentiation across expression style

Christopher Pease, Gary Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anger is a commonly experienced emotion, although marked individual differences in the expression of anger are observed. Basic dimensions of personality (e.g., Big Five traits) have been shown to predict the experience of trait anger; however, little work has addressed the personality correlates of broader conceptualisations of trait anger (e.g., inward or outward expressions). Additionally, while some recent work has suggested that basic personality traits may show interactive influences on anger expression this work has yet to be independently confirmed. In a large sample of adults we examined, firstly, how Big Five traits associated with several components of anger as measured by the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory. Secondly, we examined whether these associations were further qualified by interactions between Big Five traits. Results indicated neuroticism and, to a lesser extent, (low) agreeableness, were the traits most associated with components of trait anger. Conscientiousness and extraversion were also noted to show links to more focal components of anger. Moderation was observed: conscientiousness moderated neuroticism’s relationship with anger control, and agreeableness and conscientiousness, in a three-way interaction, moderated neuroticism’s relationship with trait anger. These observations help to further clarify the role of Big Five personality traits as a foundation for the experiences of anger, demonstrating how anger style varies across personality configuration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159–164
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Early online date6 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015

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