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Empirical studies between anger and anger-provoking cognitive variables in children and adolescents are lacking, despite numerous studies on internalising and externalising problems.
The purpose of this study was to develop new questionnaires for anger-provoking cognitive errors and automatic thoughts, and examine relationships between anger, cognitive errors, and automatic thoughts in children and adolescents.
Participants were 485 Japanese children and adolescents aged 9–15 years old (254 females; average age 12.07; SD = 1.81). They completed the Anger Children’s Cognitive Error Scale (A-CCES) and the Anger Children’s Automatic Thought Scale (A-CATS), which were developed in this study, as well as the Anger Scale for Children and Adolescents and the Japanese version of Short Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale.
Both the A-CCES and the A-CATS had adequate reliability (internal consistency) and validity (face validity, structural validity and construct validity). A hierarchal regression analysis indicated that automatic thoughts were positively and moderately related to anger (β = .37) after controlling for age, gender, anxiety symptoms, cognitive errors and interaction term. Moreover, a mediation analysis indicated that automatic thoughts significantly mediated the relationship between cognitive errors and anger (indirect effect, 0.24; 95% CI: .020 to .036).
This study developed the new questionnaires to assess anger-provoking cognitive errors and automatic thoughts. In addition, this study revealed that automatic thoughts rather than cognitive errors are associated with anger in children and adolescents.
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