Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Not all forms of anger lead to alcohol-related aggression

15.12.2003


Men with high levels of cognitive and behavioral anger, and women with high levels of behavioral anger, are most at risk

  • The association among anger, alcohol and aggression is not as clear as it may first seem.

  • New research examines the effects of three components of anger: affective, cognitive and behavioral.

  • Behavioral anger contributes most to alcohol-related aggression among both men and women.

The association among anger, alcohol and aggression is not as clear as it may first seem. A study in the December issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research that teases apart three different components of anger – affective, cognitive and behavioral – has found that it is behavioral anger that contributes the most to alcohol-related aggression among both men and women.



"We know that there’s a link between alcohol and aggression," said Peter R. Giancola, associate professor of psychology, director of the University of Kentucky Alcohol Research Laboratory, and first author of the study, "but does it occur it everybody? No, there are plenty of people who drink a lot and they get sleepy and happy, just as there are plenty of people who drink and they get out of control. That’s the obvious part. The not-so-obvious part is figuring out what predicts who will and who will not become aggressive when they drink. Where do we start? You might think that people who are generally more angry when they are sober are likely going to become more aggressive when they drink, however, there are plenty of people who are very angry when they are sober and they do not become aggressive when they drink."

Amos Zeichner, professor and director of the Psychology Clinic at the University of Georgia, said the first step to understanding the relationship between anger and alcohol-related aggression is to recognize that there are different types of anger. "The term ’anger’ comprises the experience of feelings, thoughts, and behavioral aspects just as, for instance, the experience of ’pain’ has several components such as motivational, affective, sensory, and behavioral," he said.

Although aggression is a goal-directed behavior motivated by the desire to injure another person, anger refers to a set of feelings that are not motivated by any particular goal. Trait anger is believed to have three basic components: affective, referring to emotions such as annoyance, frustration or irritation; cognitive, characterized by cynicism and distrust; and behavioral, which is the more ’acting out’ component of anger, such as yelling or ’causing a scene’ in a public place.

For this study, researchers examined 300 healthy social drinkers (150 males, 150 females) between 21 and 35 years of age. First, they measured the participants’ three components of trait anger and then, following consumption of either an alcohol or a placebo beverage, measured their aggressive behavior within an experimental setting.

The results confirm previous findings that anger can be a risk factor for alcohol-related aggression, however, alcohol consumption does not increase aggression in all persons and in all situations. Alcohol-related aggression was greater among men with higher behavioral and cognitive anger scores, and among women with just higher behavioral anger scores.

"We know that women in society are, in general, less violent that men," noted Giancola. "Women tend to have a higher threshold for violence, which comes from society telling them to be good. In order to see violence occur in women, they either have to be environmentally provoked, a lot, or they have to be the type of person who, in the sober state, is already getting in your face, and knocking people around."

"The relationship among emotion, alcohol intoxication, and aggression is very complex," said Zeichner. "Try as we may, we cannot provide a neatly packaged formula to explain and predict intoxicated aggression. The interface between a situation one finds himself or herself in and one’s personality is comprised of a multitude of psychological and physiological events. We need to break down such complexities into their components in order to advance our understanding of human behavior, which is what Dr. Giancola’s work does."

"There are a lot of things that put people at risk for just about anything," added Giancola, "for heart disease, cancer, and violence under the influence of alcohol. However, just as there are a lot of things that will put individuals at risk, so too will a lot of things protect them. For example, if someone grew up in a loving home where they were taught how to control their anger, then maybe they will still grow up as an angry person, but they will have learned how to control it, how to regulate it, and will be less likely to display it. This could be considered a protective or preventive measure. Our job is to try and first discern those things that will put people at risk for violence under the influence of alcohol. What are the top five or 10 risk factors? How do they all work together? Once we’ve discovered this, then we can start implementing interventions and maybe even preventive measures."


Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER) is the official journal of the Research Society on Alcoholism and the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism. Co-authors of the ACER paper were Donald A. Saucier and Natasha L. Gussler-Burkhardt of the Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky. The study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Peter R. Giancola | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.alcoholism-cer.com/

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NIH scientists illuminate causes of hepatitis b virus-associated acute liver failure

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs

14.11.2018 | Earth Sciences

NIH scientists combine technologies to view the retina in unprecedented detail

14.11.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>