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Force production parameters as behavioural measures for anger expression and control: The Method of Stamp Strike Shout

Boerhout, Cees; van Busschbach, Jooske T.; Vermerris, S. Marije; Troquete, Nadine A. C.; Hof, At L.; Hoek, Hans W.

This study presents first test results of a new performance-based, psychomotor method to measure anger expression and control, based on voice expression and physical force production in directional movement of arms and legs, called the Method of Stamp Strike Shout (MSSS). Recorded are the standardized impact of stamping on a force plate, hitting a punching bag, and the amplitude of shouting in a microphone at various force levels. The premise is, that these body behaviours stand for the ‘urge to act or shout’ that belongs to anger-related emotions. The MSSS is meant to be applied in addition to potentially biased self-report questionnaires and has been designed for diagnostic as well as therapeutic purposes in clinical practice. First, this paper focusses on the instrumentation, internal structure and reliability of the MSSS. An explorative study in a student sample (n = 104) shows correlation patterns between increasing and decreasing levels of force production within each subtest (Stamp, Strike and Shout) and between the three subtests. We found excellent internal consistency of the three subtests and high test-retest reliability. The parameters of increasing and decreasing force levels form the slopes of what we call a force pyramid. To adjust for the clustering within persons, aggregated outcomes were calculated: sum scores per subtest as an indication of total force produced, two linear contrast scores to indicate the rate of increase / decrease, and two quadratic contrast scores as measures of the curvature of the slopes. On all subtests, all aggregated scores showed differences between men and women, also when controlled for weight. To test the validity of the MSSS, the second part of the paper examines the relationship between force parameters and anger coping style, measured by the Self-Expression and Control Scale (SECS). The results suggest that the Shout subtest was the most sensitive indicator for anger coping style, showing negative correlations with Anger In, for women as well as men. For women, higher amplitude was also associated with higher Anger Out and lower amplitude with higher Anger Control. The Stamp subtest showed weak positive correlations with the Anger In subscales, whereas no correlations were found on the Strike subtest. Further, a more robust comparison was made between two groups of participants who reported to have an internalizing versus an externalizing anger coping style. Results indicated that internalizing women as well as men used less force than externalizing participants on all three subtests, especially on the Shout subtest. This was confirmed by lower mean sum scores on the Shout subtest for internalizing women compared with externalizing women. No differences in linear contrast scores were shown between internalizing and externalizing participants. The quadratic contrast scores suggested differences of the curvation of the slopes between women with more or less anger control when stamping, and men with more or less anger control when striking. As this is an explorative study, findings should be interpreted with caution.


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April 16, 2019
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