Are You an Angry Person?

Do this analysis by yourself to understand how angry are you?

Everybody gets angry from time to time. A number of statements
that people have used to describe the times they get angry are
included below. Use the guidelines below to indicate how well
each of the following statements describes you. Please answer
every item.

5 = Completely true
4 = Mostly true
3 = Partly false/partly true
2 = Mostly false
1 = Completely false

1. I tend to get angry more frequently than most people.
2. Other people seem to get angrier than I do in similar
circumstances.
3. I harbor grudges that I don’t tell anyone about.
4. I try to get even when I’m angry with someone.
5. I am secretly quite critical of others.
6. It is easy to make me angry.
7. When I am angry with someone, I let that person know.
8. I have met many people who are supposed to be experts
who are no better than I.
9. Something makes me angry almost every day.
10. I often feel angrier than I think I should.
11. I feel guilty about expressing my anger.
12. When I am angry with someone, I take it out on whoever
is around.
13. Some of my friends have habits that annoy and bother
me very much.
14. I am surprised at how often I feel angry.
15. Once I let people know I’m angry, I can put it out of my
mind.
16. People talk about me behind my back.
17. At times, I feel angry for no specific reason.
18. I can make myself angry about something in the past
just by thinking about it.
19. Even after I have expressed my anger, I have trouble forgetting
about it.
20. When I hide my anger from others, I think about it for a
long time.
21. People can bother me just by being around.
22. When I get angry, I stay angry for hours.
23. When I hide my anger from others, I forget about it
pretty quickly.
24. I try to talk over problems with people without letting
them know I’m angry.
25. When I get angry, I calm down faster than most people.
26. I get so angry, I feel like I might lose control.
27. If I let people see the way I feel, I’d be considered a hard
person to get along with.
28. I am on my guard with people who are friendlier than I
expected.
29. It’s difficult for me to let people know I’m angry.
30. I get angry when:
_____ a. Someone lets me down.
_____ b. People are unfair.
_____ c. Something blocks my plans.
_____ d. I am delayed.
_____ e. Someone embarrasses me.
_____ f. I have to take orders from someone less capable than I.
_____ g. I have to work with incompetent people.
_____ h. I do something stupid.
_____ i. I am not given credit for something I have done.

NORMS

........................SCORES...........................................PERCENTILE
......AA......RAS.....HO...... AO......AI......Total
......47......33.........44.........14.......22.......160................85
......42......29.........39.........13......20.......142................70
......36......25.........34.........11......17.......123.................50
......30......21.........29.........9........14.......104................30
......25......17.........24.........8.........12.......86..................15

SCORING

The first step in scoring is to reverse (5 = 1, 4 = 2, 3 = 3, 2 = 4, and
1 = 5) the following items: 2, 23, and 25. Next, you can find your
score on five subscales. Please note that some items appear on
more than one subscale. The first is Anger Arousal and consists of
items 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 14, 17, 18, 21, 22, 25, and 26. The second dimension
is Range of Anger-Eliciting Situations and includes items
30a, 30b, 30c, 30d, 30e, 30f, 30g, 30h, and 30i. The third dimension
is Hostile Outlook and consists of items 8, 13, 17, 18, 21, 22,
28, 30a, 30b, 30f, 30g, and 30i. The fourth dimension is Anger-
Out and consists of items 7, 23, 24, and 29. And the fifth dimension
is Anger-In and consists of items 3, 4, 11, 19, 20, and 27.

About the Multidimensional Anger Inventory

As is the case with all sciences, psychology has been guilty of its
share of mistakes. One interesting example of this concerns the
emotion of anger. For many years, the common wisdom was that
people should express their anger, that it was unhealthy to suppress
it. Freud, one of the first proponents of this view, argued
that depression is anger turned inward, so clearly, it would be
better to express one’s anger outward to avoid the negative consequences
of repressing it. This belief was strengthened in the
1950s when psychoanalyst Franz Alexander wrote that pent-up
anger would intensify, resulting in a chronic emotional state that
caused hypertension. Alexander’s theory received some support
in the 1960s when a group of researchers brought people into
the laboratory and deliberately made them angry, which caused
their blood pressure to increase. Half of these research participants
were subsequently allowed to retaliate against the person
who made them angry, and for these people, there was a decrease
in their blood pressure. So, it seemed clear: expressing
anger could lower one’s blood pressure and possibly preclude
the risk of coronary heart disease.

Now, nearly 40 years later, researchers have a very different
view of anger, and it appears as if there is very little that is good
about it. As is always the case, the situation is extremely complex
and the interplay of a number of variables must be considered,
but it does appear that anger poses serious health and social
risks. Perhaps the most dramatic illustration of the health risks
was presented by a group of researchers from the University of
North Carolina who gave a group of medical students a test measuring
their hostility. Twenty-five years later, physicians who had
been high in hostility as students were significantly more likely
not only to have suffered coronary disease but also to have died!
The social risks of anger have been well publicized over the
past several years. Who has not heard of ugly and tragic incidents
stemming from road rage? Both spouse and child abuse are almost
always preceded by the perpetrator experiencing anger.
Over the past half century, we psychologists have gone from
teaching people how to express their anger to leading anger
management seminars. Anger is something that is best controlled.

UCLA psychologist Judith Siegel developed the Multidimensional
Anger Inventory to reflect the complexity of the emotion
of anger. After reviewing the scientific literature dealing with the
relationship between anger and coronary heart disease, she
noted that there are a number of dimensions associated with this
dangerous emotion. As the scales on her test suggest, some
people may become angry often, but a relatively narrow range of
situations elicit their anger. Other people may have a generally
hostile outlook on the world, even though they may not experience
a great deal of emotional intensity when they feel angry.
Siegel’s goal was to develop a test that would help researchers
better understand exactly what components of anger contribute
to coronary heart disease.

While we still have much to learn about the precise nature of
anger, it is clear that if you received high scores on this test then
you would benefit from modifying your anger level. It is never
easy to change lifelong patterns, but the evidence is clear that
anger management programs work. It is true that some of us are
predisposed by our biological makeup to respond more strongly
than others, but the experience of anger is strongly influenced
by learning. If we observed our parents becoming angry frequently,
we learned that anger is an expected reaction in such
situations. And remember, patterns that are learned can be unlearned.

Perhaps the most important step in modifying your anger is to
recognize that it is under your control. Too many angry people
blame the target of their emotions. The abusive husband blames
his wife for provoking him. The woman who experiences road
rage blames stupid and incompetent drivers. If you want to
change, you have to accept responsibility for your reactions. You
cannot blame others for the emotions you experience. You are in
charge, and it is up to you to do something about your anger.
One important step in modifying your anger is to learn a more
appropriate, healthier response to situations that make you angry.
Most anger management programs use relaxation training
to help people with this step. A good source of additional information
about the benefits of relaxation and detailed instructions
to help you learn this response is Harvard psychiatrist Herbert
Benson’s book, The Relaxation Response. Even if you do not spend
the time to thoroughly master these techniques, you can accomplish
a great deal with very simple breathing exercises. Suppose
you are stuck in traffic and know you will be late to an important
meeting. Rather than feel angry at all the “idiots” who are making
life difficult for you, simply lean back in your seat, take several
slow, deep breaths, and repeat the word relax to yourself.
This will not work miracles the first time you try it, but if you consistently
practice relaxing in situations that typically make you
angry, you will be surprised by the change in yourself over a few
weeks’ time.

Along with learning to relax, you must change your thoughts.
I do not have much of a problem with anger but there is one situation
that I have had to make a conscious effort to work on—
the express line in the grocery store. I would find myself
becoming increasingly angry when the people in front of me did
not do everything they could to make the line move quickly. Especially
infuriating was the person who would wait until the
checker announced the total before digging through her purse
to find her pocketbook. Then, this especially annoying person
would dig through her change pocket to preserve as many of her
precious dollar bills as possible (see, I’m getting worked up just
writing about it). I decided I had to change when I realized I
would still be angry by the time I got home from the store. So I
would take the deep breaths and then tell myself that at most, it
was adding a minute to my delay and that the woman was not intentionally
doing this to make my life miserable. And rather than
stare at her in a futile attempt to speed her up, I would amuse
myself by reading the headlines of the tabloid newspapers that
are always adjacent to the checkout line.

It has been several years since I vowed to work on this, and
there are still times when I am in a hurry and I have to remind
myself to practice what I preach. It is almost impossible to completely
change our reactions, but it is also true that I almost
never walk out of the store feeling angry at the people who were
ahead of me in line. With persistence, you too can overcome
most anything.

1 comments:

Excellent article, and very true indeed. There is a greater need to control our anger in this fast changing environment around us, when the life is compelling us to be the FASTEST. Now we feel irritated even to use the 'pulse tone intercoms' we find in some organisations, as we have got so used to the tone / fast dialling.

The the simplest solution / technique indicated as 'controlled, deep breathing' works very efficiently, and can be easily practiced.

Thanks for the article. Now I must hunt for the book by Herbert Benson !

July 6, 2009 at 11:36 AM  

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