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Socioeconomic Status And The Frequency Of Anger Across The Life Course

Scott Schieman

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Previous studies suggest that older people report less anger. However, little is known about the relationship between age and the frequency of anger among individuals with different levels of education and economic circumstances. Using data from the 1996 General Social Survey ( N = 1,442), I examine the effects of age on anger across levels of education and objective and subjective economic conditions. A significant and positive age × education interaction suggests that the negative relationship between age and the frequency of anger is stronger at lower levels of education. Adjustment for social roles and economic conditions fails to account for the age × education interaction effect. In addition, differences in anger between individuals who reported worsening financial conditions and those who reported that their finances improved or stayed the same are greatest among the youngest age groups, and the gap decreases at successively older age levels. I discuss the ways that these results contradict recent findings of SES-based age differences in depressive emotions and physical health status.