Advertisement

Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 25, Issue 9, pp 2674–2682 | Cite as

The Role of Anger in the Relationship Between Internalising Symptoms and Aggression in Adolescents

  • Daniel GreshamEmail author
  • Glenn A. Melvin
  • Eleonora Gullone
Original Paper

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the role of anger in the relationships between various internalising symptoms and direct and indirect aggression. A sample of 241 adolescents aged 12–17 years completed the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders, Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D) and the Buss–Warren Aggression Questionnaire (AQ-15). Symptoms of panic disorder, generalised anxiety disorder and depression, but not social phobia, were positively correlated with anger, direct aggression and indirect aggression. When considered simultaneously in regression analyses, only symptoms of depression contributed to variance in the anger and aggression variables. However, using indirect effect modelling, no direct relationships were found between the internalising symptom variables and the aggression variables. Instead, the data suggested that the relationship between internalising symptoms and aggression is mediated by the emotion of anger. These findings suggest that the degree to which anger co-occurs with internalising symptoms may play an important role in an individual’s propensity to engage in aggressive behaviour.

Keywords

Anxiety Depression Anger Aggression Adolescent 

References

  1. Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2002). Human aggression. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 27–51. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.53.100901.135231.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, C. A., Deuser, W. E., & DeNeve, K. (1995). Hot temperatures, hostile affect, hostile cognition and arousal: Tests of a general model of affective aggression. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21(5), 434–448. doi: 10.1177/0146167295215002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ang, R. P. (2005). Development and validation of the teacher-student relationship inventory using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. The Journal of Experimental Education, 74(1), 55–73. doi: 10.3200/JEXE.74.1.55-74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barret, E. L., Mills, K. L., & Teesson, M. (2013). Mental health correlates of anger in the general population: Findings from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 47(5), 470–476. doi: 10.1177/0004867413476752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Batanova, M. D., & Loukas, A. (2011). Social anxiety and aggression in early adolescents: Examining the moderating roles of empathic concern and perspective taking. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40(11), 1534–1543. doi: 10.1007/s10964-011-9634-x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Berkowitz, L. (1990). On the formation and regulation of anger and aggression. A cognitive-neoassociationistic analysis. The American Psychologist, 45(4), 494–503. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.45.4.494.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Berkowitz, L. (1993). Aggression: Its causes, consequences, and control. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  8. Berkowitz, L. (2002). Affect, aggression, and antisocial behavior. In R. J. Davidson, K. R. Scherer, & H. Goldsmith (Eds.), Handbook of affective sciences (pp. 804–823). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Berkowitz, L., Cochran, S. T., & Embree, M. C. (1981). Physical pain and the goal of aversively stimulated aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40(4), 687–700. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.40.4.687.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Birmaher, B., Brent, D., Chiappetta, L., Bridge, J., Monga, S., & Baugher, M. (1999). Psychometric properties of the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED): A replication study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38, 1230–1236. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199910000-00011.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Bushman, B. J., & Anderson, C. A. (2001). Is it time to pull the plug on the hostile versus instrumental aggression dichotomy? Psychological Review, 108(1), 273–279. doi: 10.1037//0033-295X.108.1.273.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Buss, A. H., & Warren, W. L. (2000). Aggression questionnaire: Manual. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  13. Cannon, W. B. (1929). Bodily changes in pain, hunger, fear and rage: An account of recent research into the function of emotional excitement (2nd ed.). New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  14. Costello, E. J., Copeland, W., & Angold, A. (2011). Trends in psychopathology across the adolescent years: What changes when children become adolescents, and when adolescents become adults? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 52(10), 1015–1025. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2011.02446.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dodge, K. A., Coie, J. D., & Lynam, D. (2006). Aggression and antisocial behaviour in youth. In W. L. Damon & N. Eisenberg (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (6th ed., Vol. 3, pp. 719–788). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  16. Dutton, D. G., & Karakanta, C. (2013). Depression as a risk marker for aggression: A critical review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18(2), 310–319. doi: 10.1016/j.avb.2012.12.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eckhardt, C. I., Norlander, B., & Deffenbacher, J. (2004). The assessment of anger and hostility: A critical review. Aggression and Violent Behaviour, 9(1), 17–43. doi: 10.1016/S1359-1789(02)001167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Erwin, B. A., Heimberg, R. G., Schneier, F. R., & Liebowitz, M. R. (2003). Anger experience and expression in social anxiety disorder: Pretreatment profile and predictors of attrition and response to cognitive-behavioral treatment. Behavior Therapy, 34(3), 331–350. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7894(03)80004-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fite, P. J., Raine, A., Stouthamer-Loeber, M., Loeber, R., & Pardini, D. A. (2010). Reactive and proactive aggression in adolescent males: Examining differential outcomes 10 years later in early adulthood. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 37(2), 141–157. doi: 10.1177/0093854809353051.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Haley, T., Puskar, K., & Terhorst, L. (2011). Psychometric properties of the screen for child anxiety related emotional disorders in a rural high school population. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 24(1), 23–32. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2011.03.015.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Hawkins, K. A., & Cougle, J. R. (2011). Anger problems across the anxiety disorders: Findings from a population-based study. Depression and Anxiety, 28(2), 145–152. doi: 10.1002/da.20764.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Huesmann, L. R., Dubow, E., & Boxer, P. (2009). Continuity of aggression from childhood to early adulthood as a predictor of life outcomes: Implications for the adolescent-limited and life-course-persistent models. Aggressive Behavior, 35(2), 136–149. doi: 10.1002/ab.20300.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Kashdan, T. B., & McKnight, P. E. (2010). The darker side of social anxiety: When aggressive impulsivity prevails over shy inhibition. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19(1), 47–50. doi: 10.1177/0963721409359280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kunimatsu, M. M., & Marsee, M. A. (2012). Examining the presence of anxiety in aggressive individuals: The illuminating role of flight-or-flight mechanisms. Child & Youth Care Forum, 41(3), 247–258. doi: 10.1007/s10566-012-9178-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Levi, K., Hunt, C., & Heriot, S. (2007). Treating comorbid anxiety and aggression in children. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 46(9), 1111–1118. doi: 10.1097/chi.0b013e318074eb32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lilienfeld, S. (2003). Comorbidity between and within childhood externalizing and internalizing disorders: Reflections and directions. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31(3), 285–291. doi: 10.1023/A:1023229529866.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Loukas, A., Paulos, S. K., & Robinson, S. (2005). Early adolescent social and overt aggression: Examining the roles of social anxiety and maternal psychological control. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34(4), 335–345. doi: 10.1007/s10964-005-5757-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Marsee, M., Weems, C., & Taylor, L. (2008). Exploring the association between aggression and anxiety in youth: A look at aggressive subtypes, gender, and social cognition. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 17(1), 154–168. doi: 10.1007/s10826-007-9154-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Maxwell, J. P. (2008). Psychometric properties of a Chinese version of the Buss–Warren Aggression Questionnaire. Personality and Individual Differences, 44(4), 943–953. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2007.10.037.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McConaughy, S., & Skiba, R. (1994). Comorbidity of externalizing and internalizing problems. School Psychology Review, 22(3), 421–436.Google Scholar
  31. Moscovitch, D. A., McCabe, R. E., Antony, M. M., Rocca, L., & Swinson, R. P. (2008). Anger experience and expression across the anxiety disorders. Depression and Anxiety, 25(2), 107–113. doi: 10.1002/da.20280.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Pihlakoski, L., Sourander, A., Aromaa, M., Rautava, P., Helenius, H., & Sillanpaa, M. (2006). The continuity of psychopathology from early childhood to preadolescence: A prospective cohort study of 3-12-year-old children. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 15(7), 409–417. doi: 10.1007/s00787-006-0548-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40(3), 879–891. doi: 10.3758/BRM.40.3.879.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D Scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1(3), 385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rapee, R. M. (2013). Effect of comorbidity on treatment of anxious children and adolescents: Results from a large, combined sample. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(1), 47–56. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2012.10.002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Rapee, R. M., Lyneham, H. J., Schniering, C. A., Wuthrich, V., Abbott, M. J., Hudson, J. L., & Wignall, A. (2006). The cool kids child and adolescent anxiety program: Therapist manual. Sydney: Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University.Google Scholar
  37. Richardson, D. S., & Green, L. R. (2003). Defining direct and indirect aggression: The Richardson conflict response questionnaire. International Review of Social Psychology, 16(3), 11–30.Google Scholar
  38. Skorikov, V. B., & Vandervoort, D. J. (2003). Relationships between the underlying constructs of the Beck Depression Inventory and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 63(2), 319–335. doi: 10.1177/0013164402251035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Slemming, K., Sørensen, M. J., Thomsen, P. H., Obel, C., Henriksen, T. B., & Linnet, K. M. (2010). The association between preschool behavioural problems and internalizing difficulties at age 10–12 years. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 19(10), 787–795. doi: 10.1007/s00787-010-0128-2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Spielberger, C. D., Jacobs, G., Russell, S., & Crane, R. (1983). Assessment of anger: The state-trait anger scale. In J. N. Butcher & C. D. Spielberger (Eds.), Advances in personality assessment (Vol. 2, pp. 159–187). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  41. Vitaro, F., Brendgen, M., & Tremblay, R. (2002). Reactively and proactively aggressive children: Antecedent and subsequent characteristics. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43(4), 495–505. doi: 10.1111/1469-7610.00040.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Vrij, A., Vandersteen, J., & Koppelaar, L. (1994). Aggression of police officers as a function of temperature: An experiment with the fire arms training system. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 4(5), 365–370. doi: 10.1002/casp.2450040505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Gresham
    • 1
    Email author
  • Glenn A. Melvin
    • 1
  • Eleonora Gullone
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, Department of PsychiatryMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations