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Keywords:

  • anger;
  • aggression;
  • personality disorders;
  • nosology;
  • diagnosis

Abstract

Objectives: Although many psychiatric disorders are “emotional” disorders, no disorders exist for which dysfunctional anger is a necessary feature. This study examined whether dysfunctional anger could be considered a diagnosis independent from Personality Disorders. Design: We analyzed data on 1,158 psychiatric outpatients who underwent a semi-structured interview for Axis II disorders and ascertained the co-occurrence of dysfunctional anger and Personality Disorders. Results: The overlap between dysfunctional anger and all Personality Disorders was low. Data analyses showed dysfunctional anger was not well accounted for by Axis II diagnoses. Conclusions: Dysfunctional anger can be viewed by researchers and clinicians as an independent diagnostic entity. The implications of these results for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with anger symptoms is discussed. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol: 67:1–11, 2011.