Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP
Is Anger Related to Anxiety? Anger is a natural emotion that each of us experiences. Each of us knows anger is natural and healthy, but many people do not know that individuals who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) may be at risk for anger problems, and anger may also be a catalyst for increasing the intensity of their disorder.
Sonya Deschêne, a research student, and Concordia investigated a possible link between Generalized Anxiety Disorder and the manifestation of anger. Previous research suggested that there is a relationship between anxiety and anger; however, Deschene noticed that this relationship was not yet well understood. She wanted to determine the specific variables of anger that are linked with GAD.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a condition that is categorized as persistent worry about uncontrollable factors in your environment. Deschene and her colleagues wanted to find a specific relationship between anger and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. To accomplish this goal, these researchers studied the link between specific anger variables and Generalized Anxiety Disorder symptoms in 380 subjects. One hundred and thirty of the participants in the study indicated that they would react violently or angrily to a specific scenario which was found to be correlated with the GAD dimensions of anxiety and worry.
These studies confirm previous research that GAD and angry behavior are linked. This research also suggests that increased anger levels are related to the onset of GAD. Researchers agree that they have a far way to go in terms of determining why GAD and anger issues tend to co-exist. One potential explanation for the co-occurrence of these variables is the idea that individuals with GAD might respond to ambivalent situations assuming the worst about the outcome. Deschene agrees that these links need to be studied more in-depth, so she has dedicated her doctoral research to studying these links more thoroughly. (Article written by D’Arienzo Psychology’s Intern and UNF researcher, Reema Sabella)
Sonya S. Deschênes, Michel J. Dugas, Katie Fracalanza, Naomi Koerner. The Role of Anger in Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 2012; 41 (3): 261 DOI: 10.1080/16506073.2012.666564