Theories Of Anger

In the first half of this chapter we have covered some of the basic research concerning anger. We have illustrated how anger is most usually a moral emotion, depending on attributions of intent to recognisable agents for perceived wrongdoings. We have also discussed the influence of non-normative factors such as extraneous physiological arousal on the experience of anger. Finally, we have considered the question, which is not unique to anger, of the balance between too much of a given emotion and too little. Much of this discussion has been relatively atheoretical. In the second half of the chapter we examine theories of anger, including the issue of cycles of appraisal in our own SPAARS model, before considering varieties of anger disorder and other anger-related emotions.

Four theories of anger are considered in detail: the reformulated frustrationaggression hypothesis of Berkowitz; his later re-reformulation into a neo-associationist model; the cognitive-clinical theory of Novaco (e.g., 1979); and the SPAARS approach. Other cognitive theorists have considered the emotion of anger (Beck, 1976, 1999; Ellis, 1977); however, in neither of these approaches is anger analysed in great detail and we shall not dwell on them here.

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