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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.
There has been a tendency in the more recent revisions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and in studies of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to expand somewhat haphazardly the DSM-III formulation of Criterion A traumatic events. This chapter explains how the field might develop a more rigorous Criterion A definition. The definition of traumatic stressors was broadened in DSM-IV. The strongest claim to primacy would be for stressors that are necessary and sufficient to elicit the syndrome of PTSD symptoms and signs. Stressful events occur along a continuum of situations in which people live their lives. What to include in and exclude from the definition of Criterion A stressors in the next formulation of PTSD should depend on a great deal of systematic research with all types of situations and related negative events.