Two experiments investigated the effects of venting on anger. The first extended previous research positing that the target of venting (the person to whom anger is directed) is a critical determinant altering anger expression and anger. This experiment found that venting to particular targets (therapist, mediator, friend) increased anger as compared to not venting. The second experiment investigated the effects of different responses to venting (i.e., reinterpreting or reinforcing). This experiment found that responses that reinforce the anger-provoking behavior (emphasize internal and controllable causes) increase anger. Responses that reinterpret the anger-provoking behavior (emphasize external and uncontrollable causes) decrease anger. Interestingly, this pattern holds for offender respondents only. When the resondent is a third party, neither a reinterpreting nor a reinforcing response changes anger significantly. Limitations and practical implications are discussed.
Parlamis, Jennifer, "Venting Anger: Third Party Targets and Responses" (2010). Organization, Leadership, and Communication. 4.