A Three-Factor Model of Trait Anger: Dimensions of Affect, Behavior, and Cognition

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Abstract

The structure of trait anger was tested in a study of 24 self-report scales. Exploratory factor analyses in an undergraduate sample (N= 457) yielded a two-factor model (comprising cynicism and aggression) and a three-factor model (representing angry emotions, aggressive behaviors, and cynicism). Subsequent evaluations, including confirmatory factor analyses, indicated that the three-factor model provided the best characterization of the trait anger domain. The three-factor solution was consistent with an ‘ABC’ conceptualization of trait anger, consisting of the dimensions of affect, behavior, and cognition. The three factors showed strikingly different associations with the Big Five personality traits. Angry Affect was most strongly related to Neuroticism, whereas Behavioral Aggression was associated with low Agreeableness. Cynical Cognition represented a blend of neurotic and disagreeable characteristics. Modest mean-level differences were observed between the genders for each factor.

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