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Behavioral and Emotional Effects of Anger Expression and Anger Management among Adolescents

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Violence which is a form of physical aggression is on the rise among adolescents. Verbal and physical aggressions are associated with anger. Although anger is a common and natural emotion, problems associated with inappropriate expression of anger remain among the most serious concerns of parents, educators, and the mental health community. The aim of this descriptive study was to ascertain the behavioral and emotional effects of expression of anger and ways of managing anger among adolescents. Subjects for this study were 1162 (552 male and 610 female) adolescents age between 14 to 16 years old. They were randomly selected from all public schools in the state of Selangor in West Malaysia. The instrument used was developed based on the definition of anger and the eight dimensions suggested by Sisco (1991), Novaco (1994) and Spielberger (1988). Nearly everyone in the study said that they had experienced anger. When angry, 7.1% hit other people while 25.1 resort to hitting objects while 27.8% became aggressive verbally or cursing. More than 50% seemed to have regretted expressing their anger while 44.7% felt like asking for forgiveness. A majority or 64.5% of the subjects said that they resort to calming themselves when they felt angry.
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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 140 ( 2014 ) 565 – 569
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
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1877-0428 © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).
Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of PSYSOC 2013.
doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.04.471
PSYSOC 2013
Behavioral and Emotional Effects of Anger Expression and Anger
Management among Adolescents
Rohany Nasir
a
*, Norisham Abd Ghani
b
,
ab
School of Psychology & Human Development, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities,
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
Abstract
Violence which is a form of physical aggression is on the rise among adolescents. Verbal and physical aggressions are
associated with anger. Although anger is a common and natural emotion, problems associated with inappropriate expression of
anger remain among the most serious concerns of parents, educators, and the mental health community. The aim of this
descriptive study was to ascertain the behavioral and emotional effects of expression of anger and ways of managing anger
among adolescents. Subjects for this study were 1162 (552 male and 610 female) adolescents age between 14 to 16 years old.
They were randomly selected from all public schools in the state of Selangor in West Malaysia. The instrument used was
developed based on the definition of anger and the eight dimensions suggested by Sisco (1991), Novaco (1994) and Spielberger
(1988). Nearly everyone in the study said that they had experienced anger. When angry, 7.1% hit other people while 25.1 resort
to hitting objects while 27.8% became aggressive verbally or cursing. More than 50% seemed to have regretted expressing their
anger while 44.7% felt like asking for forgiveness. A majority or 64.5% of the subjects said that they resort to calming
themselves when they felt angry.
© 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of PSYSOC 2013.
Keywords: Anger, Aggression, adolescents, anger management, anger expression.
1. Introduction
The increasing trend in violence among adolescents had been of great concern. Violence is a form of
physical aggression and it is usually an expression of anger (Hazaleus & Deffenbacher, 1986; Parrot & Zeichner,
2002). Aggression can be categorised into verbal and physical. Although anger is a common and natural emotion, or
*Corresponding Author: Rohany Nasir. Tel.: +60122281871; fax: +60389213541
E-mail address: rohanyn@gmail.com
© 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).
Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of PSYSOC 2013.
566 Rohany Nasir and Norisham Abd Ghani / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 140 ( 2014 ) 565 – 569
internal event, problems associated with inappropriate expression of anger remain among the most serious concerns
of parents, educators, and the mental health community (Feindler & Engel, 2011). Anger leads to aggression
(Campano dan Munakata, 2004; Neighbors,Vietor & Knee, 2002; Bushman & Anderson, 2002; Lok, Bond &
Tse, 2009). When anger failed to be controlled it would lead to agression (Hazaleus & Deffenbacher, 1986; dan
Parrot & Zeichner, 2002). Anger and its expression represent a major public health problem for school-age and
adolescents (Blake & Hamrin, 2007). Anger is associated with serious harm and in the worst case scenario,
homicides may result. Further if an adolescent’s anger occurs with aggression, a host of additional negative
consequences may ensue (Fives, Kong & Fuller, 2011). Anger and aggression, which are generally considered as
negative, are disruptive and detrimental emotional and behavioral expressions in social encounters (Lok, Bond &
Tse, 2009).
Anger has been defined as a negative destructive emotion often related to sorrow, trouble, rage, and wrathe
(McCarthy, Barnes & Alport, 1998); as a subjective emotional state that involves the interrelationship of
psychological components and cognitive appraisal (Novaco, 1975); and a negative feeling state associated with
cognitive distortion, physiologic changes, and behavioral reactions (Kassinove & Sukholdosky, 1995).
Expression of anger may take many forms, including violence, self-harm, and more commonly, physical
and verbal aggression (Blake & Hamrin, 2007). Anger facilitates the production of aggression (Averill, 1993). Thus
anger causes a lot more harm than good, hence, it should be managed.
This research aimed to ascertain the behavioral and emotional effects of expression of anger and ways of
managing anger among adolescents.
2. Materials and Method
Subjects for this study were 1162 ( 552 male and 610 female) adolescents age between 14 to 16 years old.
They were randomly selected from all public schools in the state of Selangor in West Malaysia. The instrument used
was developed based on the definition of anger and the eight dimensions suggested by Sisco (1991), Novaco (1994)
and Spielberger (1988). The dimensions are: frequencies of anger, behavioral effects of anger, behavior of others
that caused anger, places where anger frequently occurred, other feelings that accompanied anger, emotional effects
of expression of anger and ways of managing anger. The total number of items in the anger questionnaire was 67.
Respondents were asked to response a “Yes” or “No” answer to each item. The data was analysed using frequencies
and percentages.
3. Results and Discussion
Table 1 presents the frequencies and percentages of anger among adolescents. Only 10 or 0.9% said that
they have never experience anger and 19.0% experience anger at least once a day.
Table 1: Frequencies & Percentages of Anger
Frequencies of Anger No of Subjects (n =1162 )
Male Female Total
N % N % N %
Never 8 1.4 2 0.3 10 0.9
Sometime 180 32.6 136 22.3 316 27.2
A Few Times in A Month 47 8.5 54 8.9 101 8.7
A Few Times in A Week 131 23.7 167 27.4 298 25.6
At least Once a Day 90 16.3 131 21.5 221 19.0
A Few Times a Da
y
96 17.4 120 19.7 216 18.6
Table 2 presents the behavioral effects of anger. 33.2% preferred to stay away from the situation when they
experienced anger. There were also some who resolved to act aggressively by hitting others, 7.1% and hitting
objects 25.1% while some became aggressive verbally or cursing, 27.8%. Generally, boys tended to be more
physical than the girls as reflected by the percentages and frequencies of those who hit others and objects.
567
Rohany Nasir and Norisham Abd Ghani / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 140 ( 2014 ) 565 – 569
Table 2: Behavioral Effects of Anger
Behavioral Effects of Anger Number of Subjects (n =1162 )
Male Female
Total
N % N % N %
Hit Others 58 10.5 24 3.9 82 7.1
Hit Ob
j
ects 163 29.5 129 21.1 292 25.1
Cursin
g
104 18.8 183 27.7 323 27.8
Cr
y
in
g
29 5.3 188 30.8 217 18.7
Tell Others That You are Angry 87 15.8 191 31.3 278 23.9
Sta
y
Awa
y
From The Situation 193 35.0 193 31.6 386 33.2
As for who caused them to be angry, a majority or 71.3% subjects tend to say that their friends and next in
line were their siblings 59.6%. This is not surprising because when the subjects were asked to identify places where
anger took place most 70.7% said in school and 65.3% cited the home. Aggression has also increased in schools
over the last decade (Burt, Patel, Butler & Gomzalez, 2013). The study byThomas & Smith (2004) also found that
the schools were the places where anger started. As for the emotion that brought about anger most of the subjects
said 84.3% stress. As for the behavior of others that caused anger, a majority or 62.7% cited slander.
The emotional and behavioral effects of anger expression are presented in Table 3. More than 50% seemed
to have regretted expressing their anger and 44.7% felt like asking for forgiveness while 29.9% felt terrible after.
Generally more females than males regretted expressing their anger, felt like asking for forgiveness and felt terrible
after expressing anger. In all the three cases the subjects of this study felt that they were wrong in expressing their
anger and there was the element of regret in what they had done. However, 38% felt peaceful/calm after expressing
their anger while 8.4% felt that others will fear them and 2.5% felt being respected. The last three groups may be the
adolescents who believe that they were right in expressing their anger.
Table 3: Emotional and Behavioral Effects of Anger Expression
Emotional & Behavioral Effects of Anger
Expression
Number of Subjeccctsss (n =1162 )
Male Female Total
N % N % N %
Feelin
g
Guilt
y
297 53.8 369 60.5 666 57.3
Feel Like Askin
g
for For
g
iveness 228 41.3 291 47.7 519 44.7
Feeling Calm 184 33.3 258 42.3 442 38.0
Feelin
g
Terrible 151 27.4 196 32.1 347 29.9
Feeling Hurt 80 14.5 155 25.4 235 20.2
Feel That I Am Loosin
g
M
y
Friends 76 13.8 48 7.9 124 10.7
Feel That Others Will Fear Me 52 9.4 46 7.5 98 8.4
Feel Being Respected 20 3.6 9 1.5 29 2.5
Table 4 presents ways of managing anger by adolescents. Majority or 64.5% of the subjects said that they resort to
calming themselves, 43.6% took a deep breath when they felt angry, while 41.4% reminded themselves about the
negative effects of anger. There were a small group that is 9.1% who resort to assume that the person who made
them angry was sick.
568 Rohany Nasir and Norisham Abd Ghani / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 140 ( 2014 ) 565 – 569
Tab le 4: Ways of Managing Anger
Ways Of Managing Anger
Number of Subjects (n =1162 )
Male Female Total
N % N % N %
Calm oneself 366 66.3 383 62.8 749 64.5
Take a Dee
p
Breath 210 38.0 297 48.7 507 43.6
Remind Oneself About The Negative
Effects Of Anger
236 42.8 245 40.2 481 41.4
Tr
y
to Understand 152 27.5 184 30.2 336 28.9
Confident Can Overcome Rationally 134 24.3 192 31.5 326 28.1
Unable to Control An
g
er 91 16.5 123 20.2 214 18.4
Call For A Discussion 85 15.4 128 21.0 213 18.3
Assume That The Other Person Was Sick 53 9.6 54 8.9 107 9.2
Anger is difficult to be managed by adolescents (Phillips-Hershey & Kanagy 1996). It is for that reason, it is
common for schools to implement anger management groups as components of violence prevention programs
(McCarthy, Van Horne, Calfa, Lambert, & Guzman, 2010).
4. Conclusion
Although anger is a common and natural emotion, it leads to aggression and so many other negative consequences
such as homicide and violence. As such, anger should be managed. Parents, teachers and school counselors should
work closely together to organize anger management programs to help
manage anger among adolescents.
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