Anger Management: Diagnostic Differences and Treatment Implications
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Courts are referring an increasing number of people to anger management treatment, yet there are very few available guidelines for how to diagnose and treat angry people. Indeed, anger does not exist as a diagnostic category in the DSM-IV. The purpose of the present study was (a) to determine whether people referred for anger treatment met the DSM-IV criterion for other affective disorders that symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning, and (b) to determine whether there were significant differences in the coping and anger expression styles utilized by angry versus normal populations. A group of 114 college students and 66 people referred for anger management treatment completed the Life Experiences Questionnaire, the Strategic Approaches to Coping, the Trait Anger Inventory, and the Revised-Anger Expression Inventory. Results indicate that people in the anger management group and people who scored high on the anger inventory demonstrate impairment in their relationships. There were also differences in the coping styles and anger expression styles used by angry individuals compared to those who were low in anger. These findings have practical implications for the diagnosis and treatment of anger-related disorders.
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