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Keywords:

  • Asperger's syndrome;
  • anger;
  • anxiety;
  • depression;
  • adolescence

Objectives

The co-occurrence of anger in young people with Asperger's syndrome (AS) has received little attention despite aggression, agitation, and tantrums frequently being identified as issues of concern in this population. The present study investigated the occurrence of anger in young people with AS and explores its relationship with anxiety and depression.

Method

Sixty-two young people (12–23 years old) diagnosed with AS were assessed using the Beck Anger Inventory for Youth, Spence Children's Anxiety Scale, and Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale.

Results

Among young people with AS who participated in this study, 41% of participants reported clinically significant levels of anger (17%), anxiety (25.8%) and/or depression (11.5%). Anger, anxiety, and depression were positively correlated with each other. Depression, however, was the only significant predictor of anger.

Conclusion

Anger is commonly experienced by young people with AS and is correlated with anxiety and depression. These findings suggest that the emotional and behavioral presentation of anger could serve as a cue for further assessment, and facilitate earlier identification and intervention for anger, as well as other mental health problems.