Developing a clinical typology of dysfunctional anger
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BACKGROUND: This study attempted to validate a clinical typology of dysfunctional anger proposed by DiGiuseppe and Tafrate (2007) using assessment data obtained from 197 participants assessed at an outpatient clinic for anger problems. METHODS: Several self-report scales assessing anger, hostility, impulsivity and aggression, as well as a structured interview regarding anger experience and expression, were administered; Axis I and II comorbidity were assessed using clinical assessment and the SCID-II PQ. RESULTS: We found support for four of the proposed eight types described by DiGiuseppe and Tafrate - Pervasive Dysfunctional Anger, Impulsive Type; Pervasive Dysfunctional Anger, Mixed Type; Impulsive Aggressive Dysfunctional Anger; and Suppressed Dysfunctional Anger - with significant, predicted group differences on self-report measures of anger, aggression, and impulsivity, as well as differences in Axis I and II diagnoses. LIMITATIONS: Patients were rarely assigned to the other four dysfunctional anger types and thus we could not examine the validity of these types. We relied heavily on self-report data. CONCLUSIONS: Anger is a common symptom in outpatient psychiatry clinics. It is associated with both mood and anxiety disorder diagnoses, and often co-occurs with substance use problems. Different types of angry patients will likely require different assessment and treatment approaches.
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