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Predominance of Anger in Depressive Disorders Compared With Anxiety Disorders and Somatoform Disorders. [CME]

J Clin Psychiatry 2002;63(6):486-492

Objective: The object of this study was to make a comparison regarding various dimensions of anger between depressive disorder and anxiety disorder or somatoform disorder.

Method: The subjects included 73 patients with depressive disorders, 67 patients with anxiety disorders, 47 patients with somatoform disorders, and 215 healthy controls (diagnoses made according to DSM-IV criteria). Anger measures-the Anger Expression Scale, the hostility subscale of the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R), and the anger and aggression subscales of the Stress Response Inventory-were used to assess the anger levels. The severity of depression, anxiety, phobia, and somatization was assessed using the SCL-90-R.

Results: The depressive disorder group showed significantly higher levels of anger on the Stress Response Inventory than the anxiety disorder, somatoform disorder, and control groups (p<.05). The depressive disorder group scored significantly higher on the anger-out and anger-total subscales of the Anger Expression Scale than the somatoform disorder group (p<.05). On the SCL-90-R hostility subscale, the depressive disorder group also scored significantly higher than the anxiety disorder group (p<.05). Within the depressive disorder group, the severity of depression was significantly positively correlated with the anger-out score (r=0.49, p<.001), whereas, in the somatoform and anxiety disorder groups, the severity of depression was significantly positively correlated with the anger-in score (somatoform disorder: r=0.51, p<.001; anxiety disorder: r=0.57, p<.001).

Conclusion: These results suggest that depressive disorder patients are more likely to have anger than anxiety disorder or somatoform disorder patients and that depressive disorder may be more relevant to anger expression than somatoform disorder.