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Tests and Measures: Multidimensional Anger Inventory General Anger Scale, Health Profile Questionnaire, Dean Alienation Scale.

Colleen A. Quinn is now in Baltimore, Maryland.

This research was supported by R01 HD30581 and F31 MH65102 from the National Institutes of Health. The data collection assistance of Miriam Delphin, Lisa Gordon, Natalie Milbrandt, Georgia Panayiotou, Andrea Waddell, and Charlotte Witvliet was invaluable in completing this study.

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February 2015


Spielberger’s state-trait theory of anger was investigated in adolescents (n = 201, ages 10-18, 53% African American, 47% European American, 48% female) using Deffenbacher’s five hypotheses formulated to test the theory in adults. Self-reported experience, heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) responses to anger provoking imagery scripts found strong support for the application of this theory to adolescents. Compared to the low trait anger (LTA) group, adolescents with high trait anger (HTA) produced increased HR, SBP and DBP, and greater self-report of anger to anger imagery (intensity hypothesis) but not greater self-report or cardiovascular reactivity to fear or joy imagery (discrimination hypothesis). The HTA group also reported greater frequency and duration of anger episodes and had longer recovery of SBP response to anger (elicitation hypothesis). The HTA group was more likely to report negative health, social, and academic outcomes (consequence hypothesis). Adolescents with high hostility reported more maladaptive coping with anger, with higher anger in and anger-out than adolescents with low hostility (negative expression hypothesis). The data on all five hypotheses supported the notion that trait anger is firmly entrenched by the period of adolescence, with few developmental differences noted from the adult literature.


Copyright © 2013 American Psychological Association. This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Emotion, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 1, 74 – 84. The final publication is available at This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.

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