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Anger Problems: Effects of Poorly Managed Anger

Anger Problems Can Affect Your Health--Here's How To Cope


Updated May 01, 2013

Anger Problems: Effects of Poorly Managed Anger

Poorly managed anger can lead to health issues and emotional challenges. Learn more about healthy anger management.

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Like poorly managed stress, anger that isn’t handled in a healthy way can be not only uncomfortable, but even damaging to one’s health and personal life. Consider the following research on anger:

One study from the University of Washington School of Nursing studied anger problems in husbands and wives. Researchers cited previous evidence that anger problems and depressive symptoms have been linked to all major causes of death, but found that wives specifically found a greater association between anger and symptoms of depression, while men tended to instead experience an association between anger and health problems.

According to a study from Ohio State University, those who had less control over their anger tended to heal more slowly from wounds. Researchers gave blisters to 98 participants and found that, after 8 days, those who had less control over their anger also tended to be slower healers. In addition, those participants also tended to have more cortisol (a stress hormone) in their system during the blistering procedure, suggesting that they may be more stressed by difficult situations as well.

Another study from Harvard School of Public Health studied hostility in men and found that those with higher rates of hostility not only had poorer pulmonary functioning (breathing problems), but experienced higher rates of decline as they aged.

Research with children and adolescents shows that anger management is important for the younger set as well. Findings showed that youth who cope inappropriately with their anger are at greater risk for problem-ridden interpersonal relationships. Their health is also at risk; those who cope poorly with anger tend to have more negative outcomes when it comes to both mental and general health. This highlights the fact that anger management is an important skill to learn early.

These are just a few of the many studies linking anger to physical and emotional health problems, from the obvious to the unexpected. Because poorly managed anger presents such a significant problem in so many areas of life, it’s important to take steps toward learning and using healthy anger management techniques in daily life, along with stress management techniques. The following articles can help with both.

Carrére S, Mittmann A, Woodin E, Tabares A, Yoshimoto D. Anger dysregulation, depressive symptoms, and health in married women and men. Nursing Research, May-June 2005.
Gouin JP, Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Malarkey WB, Glaser R. The influence of anger expression on wound healing. Brain, Behavior and Immunity December 8, 2007.
Anger expression in children and adolescents: A review of the empirical literature. Kerr MA, Schneider BH. Anger expression in children and adolescents: A review of the empirical literature. . Clinical Psychology Review, August 9, 2007.
Kubzansky LD, Sparrow D, Jackson B, Cohen S, Weiss ST, Wright RJ. Angry breathing: A prospective study of hostility and lung function in the Normative Aging Study. Thorax, October 2006.

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