Threatening e-mails raise blood pressure

A threatening or aggressive e-mail can send your blood pressure soaring, a
study has suggested.

Occupational psychologists from Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College
checked the blood pressure of 48 students before and after reading a neutral
and then a threatening e-mail.

Although blood pressure rose to some degree after reading the threatening
e-mail and the e-mail from a superior, "the highest increase was seen in
those reading an e-mail which was both threatening and from a higher status
colleague", it found.

The study was presented at last month’s British Psychological Society
occupational psychology annual conference, which also heard research on anger
from psychologists at the University of Central Lancashire.

Its study of 24 men and women in management and non-management positions
found the most common causes of anger were immoral behaviour (cheating, lying,
stealing or other misbehaviour) and when people felt unjustly treated.

Strategies for coping often included talking to others, letting off steam,
negotiating a resolution or cold-shouldering.

Anger had damaging consequences for the individual and the organisation, and
taking steps to identify the causes of anger and reduce it could be a good
thing for a firm to do, it recommended.

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