Little is known about the prevalence and correlates of anger in the community.
We used data derived from a large national sample of the U.S. population, which included more than 34,000 adults ages 18 years and older. We defined inappropriate, intense, or poorly controlled anger by means of self-report of the following: (1) anger that was triggered by small things or that was difficult to control, (2) frequent temper outbursts or anger that lead to loss of control, or (3) hitting people or throwing objects in anger.
The overall prevalence of inappropriate, intense, or poorly controlled anger in the U.S. population was 7.8%. Anger was especially common among men and younger adults, and was associated with decreased psychosocial functioning. Significant and positive associations were evident between anger and parental factors, childhood, and adulthood adverse events. There were strong associations between anger and bipolar disorder, drug dependence, psychotic disorder, borderline, and schizotypal personality disorders. There was a dose-response relationship between anger and a broad range of psychopathology.
A rationale exists for developing screening tools and early intervention strategies, especially for young adults, to identify and help reduce anger.