Anger response styles in Chinese and Dutch children: a sociocultural perspective on anger regulation

S. Novin, C. Rieffe, R. Banerjee, A. Miers, J. Cheung

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this study, we evaluated hypotheses about cultural convergence and divergence in the nature and correlates of anger expressions. With a sample of 141 11-year-olds from the Netherlands and Hong Kong, we first examined a broad range of strategies for responding to a provocateur, finding that both Chinese and Dutch children were more likely to use intrapersonal strategies (for coping internally with the angry feelings) than interpersonal responses (to communicate anger to the provocateur). No cultural divergence was shown in the overall extent to which anger would be verbally expressed, but differences became apparent when we asked children precisely what they would say to an aggressor in a hypothetical anger-eliciting situation. As predicted, Chinese children were more likely to react tolerantly to the aggressor than their Dutch peers, whereas Dutch children indicated that they would verbally confront the aggressor more often, trying to reinstate their personal goals. In comparison with Dutch children, the Chinese sample viewed their chosen strategies as more likely to elicit positive reactions from the aggressor and to reduce anger. Directions for further research on the personal and socio-cultural functionality of anger response styles are discussed. © 2010 The British Psychological Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)806-822
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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