Angry Thoughts and Response to Provocation: Validity of the Angry Cognitions Scale

Original Article


Recently, Martin and Dahlen (J Ration Emot Cogn Behav Ther 25:155–173, 2007) developed the Angry Cognitions Scale (ACS), a theoretically derived instrument designed to measure the cognitive processes related to anger. This instrument has the potential to inform clinical and research perspectives of anger. Although preliminary evidence for the reliability and validity of the ACS was positive, further research is required regarding the ACS’s temporal stability and predictive validity. The current project sought to address this concern by assessing the six-week test–retest reliability of the ACS, exploring relationships between the ACS subscales and the experience and expression of anger, and assessing the ability of the ACS to predict cognitive and emotional responses to provocation. The ACS demonstrated adequate test–retest reliability and predicted hostile thoughts and state anger following provocation. Thus, results contribute to the literature on the ACS and support its use as a measure of cognitive processes associated with anger.


Anger Emotion Assessment 


  1. Beck, A. T. (1999). Prisoners of hate: The cognitive basis of anger, hostility, and violence. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.Google Scholar
  2. Beck, R., & Fernandez, E. (1998). Cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of anger: A meta-analysis. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 22, 63–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boyle, G. J. (1984). Reliability and validity of Izard’s Differential Emotions Scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 5, 747–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Buchwald, A. M., Strack, S., & Coyne, J. C. (1981). Demand characteristics and the Velten mood induction procedure. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 49, 478–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dahlen, E. R., & Deffenbacher, J. L. (2001). Anger management. In W. J. Lyddon & J. V. Jones (Eds.), Empirically supported cognitive therapies (pp. 163–181). New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  6. Dahlen, E. R., & Martin, R. C. (2005). The experience, expression, and control of anger in perceived social support. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 391–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Deffenbacher, J. L. (1992). Trait anger: Theory, findings, and implications. In C. D. Spielberger & J. N. Butcher (Eds.), Advances in personality assessment (Vol. 9, pp. 177–201). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  8. Deffenbacher, J. L. (1996). Cognitive-behavioral approaches to anger reduction. In K. S. Dobson & K. D. Craig (Eds.), Advances in cognitive-behavioral therapy (pp. 31–62). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  9. Deffenbacher, J. L. (2006). Evidence for effective treatment of anger-related disorders. In E. L. Feindler (Ed.), Anger related disorders: A practitioner’s guide to comparative treatments (pp. 43–69). New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  10. Deffenbacher, J. L., Lynch, R. S., Filetti, L. B., Dahlen, E. R., & Oetting, E. R. (2003). Anger, aggression, risky behavior, and crash-related outcomes in three groups of drivers. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 41, 333–349.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Deffenbacher, J. L., & Stark, R. S. (1992). Relaxation and cognitive-relaxation treatments of general anger. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 39, 158–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Del Vecchio, T., & O’Leary, K. D. (2004). Effectiveness of anger treatments for specific anger problems: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 24, 15–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. DiGiuseppe, R., & Tafrate, R. C. (2003). Anger treatment for adults: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10, 70–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. DiGiuseppe, R., & Tafrate, R. C. (2007). Understanding anger disorders. New York, NY: Oxford.Google Scholar
  15. Dryden, W. (1990). Dealing with anger problems: Rational-emotive therapeutic interventions. Sarasota, FL: Practitioner’s Resource Exchange, Inc.Google Scholar
  16. Eckhardt, C., & Jamison, T. R. (2002). Articulated thoughts of male dating violence perpetrators during anger arousal. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 26, 289–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eckhardt, C., & Kassivove, H. (1998). Articulated cognitive distortions and cognitive deficiencies in maritally violent men. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 12, 231–248.Google Scholar
  18. Ellis, A. (1977). How to live with- and without- anger. New York: Reader’s Digest Press.Google Scholar
  19. Engebretson, T., Sirota, A., Niaura, R., Edwards, K., & Brown, W. (1999). A simple laboratory method for inducing anger: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 47, 13–26.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Foster, P. S., Smith, E. W., & Webster, J. D. (1998–1999). The psychophysiological differentiation of actual, imagined, and recollected anger. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 18, 189–203.Google Scholar
  21. Fuenzalida, C., Emde, R. N., Pannabecker, B. J., & Stenberg, C. (1981). Validation of the Differential Emotions Scale in 613 mothers. Motivation and Emotion, 5, 37–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hazaleus, S. L., & Deffenbacher, J. L. (1986). Relaxation and cognitive treatments of anger. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 222–226.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Helmers, K. F., Posluszny, D. M., & Krantz, D. S. (1994). Associations of hostility and coronary artery disease: A review of studies. In A. W. Siegman & T. W. Smith (Eds.), Anger, hostility, and the heart (pp. 67–96). Hinsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  24. Izard, C. E. (1972). Patterns of emotions: A new analysis of anxiety and depression. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  25. Martin, R. C., & Dahlen, E. R. (2001, October). The development of an angry mood induction procedure. In E. R. Dahlen (Chair), Anger. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Psychological Association Convention, Gulfport, MS.Google Scholar
  26. Martin, R. C., & Dahlen, E. R. (2004). Irrational beliefs and the experience and expression of anger. Journal of Rational Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 22, 3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Martin, R. C., & Dahlen, E. R. (2007). The Angry Cognitions Scale: A new inventory for assessing cognitions in anger. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 25, 155–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mizes, J. S., Morgan, G. D., & Buder, J. (1990). The relationship of cognitions, assertion, and anger arousal. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, 4, 369–376.Google Scholar
  29. Siegman, A. W., Anderson, R., Herbst, J., Boyle, S., & Wilkinson, J. (1992). Dimensions of anger-hostility and cardiovascular reactivity in provoked and angered men. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 15, 257–272.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sirois, B. C., & Burg, M. M. (2003). Negative emotion and coronary heart disease: A review. Behavior Modification, 27, 83–102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Snyder, C. R., Crowson, J. J., Houston, B. K., Kurylo, M., & Poirier, J. (1997). Assessing hostile automatic thoughts: Development and validation of the HAT scale. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 21, 477–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Spielberger, C. D. (1999). State-trait anger expression inventory-revised. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.Google Scholar
  33. Tafrate, R. C. (1995). Evaluation of treatment strategies for adult anger disorders. In H. Kassinove (Ed.), Anger disorders: Definition, diagnosis, and treatment (pp. 109–129). Bristol: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  34. Tafrate, R. C., Kassinove, H., & Dundin, L. (2002). Anger episodes in high and low trait anger community adults. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 1573–1590.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Westermann, R., Spies, K., Stahl, G., & Hesse, F. W. (1996). Relative effectiveness and validity of mood induction procedures: A meta-analysis. European Journal of Social Psychology, 26, 557–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Human Development and PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-Green BayGreen BayUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA

Personalised recommendations