In the world of stress research, anger and hostility are the most widely studied behavioral characteristics. Studies indicate that anger is the behavioral factor most highly correlated with an increased risk of coronary heart stroke, myocardial infarction and, possibly, high blood pressure. Other physical and behavioral stress problems are known to be directly influenced by stress. For example, gastrointestinal or stomach problems have a high correlation with anger. This particular scale of the SMQ assesses the degree to which you are experiencing anger at this time.

A high level of anger is a strong behavioral predictor of early illness and even death. This scale measures such things as irritability, anger, and impatience and is one of the classic Type-A behaviors. If you scored medium to high on this scale, then practice more constructive and appropriate ways of dealing with anger and the internal and external situations that generate this emotion in you.

The Basics of Anger and Hostility

Most, but not all, anger is inappropriate and counterproductive. Determine for yourself if your anger is excessive and if it is beginning to or already has affected you and your relationships. You know better than anyone if your anger is harmful.

In addition to the physical affects of anger, anger has consequences in your social life as well. Some examples of destructive anger include verbal abuse of a child, spouse, or other person when they do not meet expectations. Physically hitting or abusing a person is an unfortunate common occurrence in homes across the world. This form of anger is almost always wrong, as are the frequent explosive outbursts of rage and anger toward others for minor infractions. Excessive verbal or physical anger is a problem for many.

Why anger? Anger is typically an attempt to control the actions or behaviors of others to get our needs and wants met by others. Anger is the result of frustration when you do not get what you need, want, or expect from life or others. Anger is essentially a control tactic.

Underlying anger is fear. The most common fear is not feeling in control of a person or event. Anger is an attempt to control one’s own world by attempting to control the actions of others. To reduce fear or anxiety and to get the person to behave “properly,” anger is employed. After all, once the person is under your control, you feel better.

Anger can be expressed either directly through “lashing out” or indirectly through “passive-aggressive” behavior. With passive-aggressive behavior, individuals punish others by being belligerent, not responding, pouting, or simply running away. Active anger is obvious: you simply lose control and “explode” onto someone with a verbal or physical attack.

Continued expressions of anger can damage your health as well as your relationships. Angry words and acts can never be taken back. The harm done is not really healed. The effects may linger for years and frequently come back to haunt you.