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01-06-2011 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2011

Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy 2/2011

Are You Looking at Me, or Am I? Anger, Aggression, Shame and Self-worth in Violent Individuals

Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy > Uitgave 2/2011
Sarah Shanahan, Jason Jones, Brian Thomas-Peter


Conclusions about the relationship between anger and violence have been drawn from research that largely uses non-clinically angry, non-violent participants. The present study assessed cognitive correlates of anger by comparing mentally disordered violent offenders (n = 22) and violent prisoners (n = 22) in their irrational beliefs, self-esteem, internalised shame, and the experience and expression of anger. Findings showed there to be no significant difference between the two groups on all of the scales used. Low self-worth, high shame and self-downing irrational beliefs were found across the whole population. Cluster analysis revealed two distinct clusters with anger as the main factor separating them. One cluster could be categorised as anger disordered and had significantly higher shame, lower self-worth and more self- and other-downing irrational beliefs than the second cluster where levels of unhealthy anger were lower. It was concluded that high levels of unhealthy anger may serve as an attempt to protect against shame and low self-worth.

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