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01-06-2009 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2009

Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy 2/2009

Trait Anger and Axis I Disorders: Implications for REBT

Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy > Uitgave 2/2009
Wilson McDermut, J. Ryan Fuller, Raymond DiGiuseppe, Iwona Chelminski, Mark Zimmerman


Anger has a prominent role in basic theories of emotion. And while many psychiatric disorders can be conceived of as emotional disorders (e.g., depressive disorders, anxiety disorders), there are no disorders for which anger is the cardinal feature. We analyzed diagnostic data on 1,687 (as later) psychiatric outpatients and looked at the co-occurrence of high trait anger (as assessed by criterion 8 of Borderline Personality Disorder) and Axis I disorders, and Borderline and Antisocial Personality Disorders. The purpose was to examine whether dysfunctional anger met criteria necessary to be considered a valid diagnostic category. Results showed that high trait anger was not fully accounted for by any particular Axis I diagnosis, or any set of Axis I diagnoses, or by the combination of Axis I diagnoses and Borderline and Antisocial PDs. Trait anger also accounted for significant amounts of unique variance in several indicators of psychiatric impairment and psychosocial functioning. We describe the anger disorder diagnoses of Eckhardt and Deffenbacher (Anger disorders: Definition, diagnosis and treatment. Taylor & Francis, Bristol, PA, 1995), and discuss the implications of those diagnoses for the practice of REBT and CBT.

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