Can Individuals Learn Strategies to Reduce Their Anger Online?

Published 07 June 2013

Anger controlResearchers from the University of New England have begun recruiting individuals who would like to reduce their general level of anger. The recruitment is for a study being conducted to assess the effectiveness of online cognitive training for anger control.

Generally, anger is a normal emotional experience and can have a positive function. Most people experience anger from one to several times per week, at a moderate intensity, for a short period of time. Normal anger can motivate an individual to defend and protect personal boundaries from perceived outside threat.

Some individuals experience anger too intensely, for too long, or too frequently. This type of anger is problematic and has been linked with negative consequencesing on interpersonal relationships, decision-making, behaviour control, and a person’s physical health.

Anger has, for example, consistently been associated with discord and conflict between partners, family, friends, and colleagues. Angered individuals are more likely to think irrationally, make poorer decisions and behave aggressively. They are also likely to rate anger as an unpleasant experience mixed with feelings of guilt and depression.

Unfortunately, high levels of anger have also been associated with health problems such as hypertension and coronary heart disease.

Student researcher Amanda Howie explains, “Anger is a serious concern that is quite often not taken seriously. The consequences of too much anger are evident, yet there is a lack of awareness within the community. This makes it hard for individuals who recognise they have a problem to know where to turn for help.”  She continues, “The internet has the potential to make help more accessible to a wide range of people, especially for those who are unable or unwilling to see a professional.”

The University of New England study is designed to evaluate whether online cognitive training is effective for reducing individuals’ anger levels. Participation in the study is conducted via the internet, including two questionnaires and the completion of four online modules. In total, this equals approximately four and a half hours across four weeks. It is open to all individuals over the age of 18 who would like to reduce their general level of anger.

Any information or personal details gathered in the course of the study will remain confidential. No individual will be identified in any publication of the results. All names will be replaced by pseudonyms; to ensure that they are not identifiable.

For more information on this study, or to discuss the possibility of participating, please contact Amanda Howie, ahowie@myune.edu.au or Associate Professor of Psychology John Malouff at jmalouff@une.edu.au or visit their Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/UNEangerstudy.