Population heterogeneity of trait anger and differential associations of trait anger facets with borderline personality features, neuroticism, depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and alcohol problems

G.H. Lubke, K.G. Ouwens, M.H.M. de Moor, T.J. Trull, D.I. Boomsma

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Anger is an emotion consisting of feelings of variable intensity ranging from mild irritation to intense fury. High levels of trait anger are associated with a range of psychiatric, interpersonal, and health problems. The objectives of this study were to explore heterogeneity of anger as measured by the Spielberger Trait Anger Scale (STAS), and to assess the association of the different anger facets with a selection of psychiatric disorders covering externalizing and internalizing problems, personality disorders, and substance use. Factor mixture models differentiated between a high and low scoring class (28% vs. 72%), and between three factors (anger-temperament, anger-reaction, and immediacy of an anger response). Whereas all psychiatric scales correlated significantly with the STAS total score, regressing the three STAS factors on psychiatric behaviors model showed a more detailed pattern. Only borderline affect instability and depression were significantly associated with all three factors in both classes whereas other problem behaviors were associated only with 1 or 2 of the factors. Alcohol problems were associated with immediacy only in the high scoring class, indicating a non-linear relation in the total sample. Taking into account these more specific associations is likely to be beneficial when investigating differential treatment strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-560
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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