Men bear grudges longer than women

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2007, 12:00am

The stereotype of women bearing long grudges is wrong and it's men who cling to bitterness and angry memories, at least in the case of Hong Kong Chinese, a survey has found.

The study of 630 people aged 17 to 75 carried out earlier this year found that women carry their anger for shorter periods than men because they are more likely to seek social support and evaluate the problem.

Siu Oi-ling, a Lingnan University psychology professor who jointly conducted the survey, said women scored better than men in terms of not clinging to angry memories or having thoughts of revenge.

'When women are troubled by anger, they tend to talk to their friends or family and seek comfort. They are more active in using coping methods, such as evaluating what has gone wrong and maintaining a positive attitude,' she said.

Professor Siu said the results fitted the traditional image of men repressing their emotions, even when irritated or angry, or lashing out instead of dealing with the source of their anger.

'Men tend to vent their anger by means of physical aggression and activities,' she said.

However, the survey showed that men had a better understanding than women of the causes of their anger.

A similar survey in Hong Kong in 2005 found that Chinese tended to have more angry and vengeful thoughts than the British, although the former understood the reasons behind their anger better than the latter.

Professor Siu said it was better to deal with anger than to repress it, which would bring about negative memories and emotions.

The results of the survey, carried out by Professor Siu and Jonathan Maxwell, a research assistant professor of the University of Hong Kong's Institute of Human Performance, will be published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences next year.