217 Triggering Anger

Based on research by Kashdan, Todd B., Goodman, Fallon R., Mallard, Travis T., and DeWall, C. Nathan (2015) written by Mara Rowcliffe, MS.

Do you know what typically triggers or sets off your anger?

Psychology researchers examined situational triggers of anger over 3 weeks. They asked 170 participants, to keep a  dairy of their most intense anger experience each day, and to note what caused or “triggered” their anger. They asked them to describe their anger intensity, control difficulty, and regulatory strategies. The researchers classified 2,200 anger episodes into 5 anger trigger categories. These included other people, psychological and physical distress, personal demands, environment and cause unknown.

Individuals who reported anger episodes triggered either by other people or when the cause was unknown, resulted in more intense anger, difficulty controlling anger, verbal confrontation, and physical and verbal aggression, as well as self-soothing. Results suggest that understanding the type of trigger is imperative in handling our anger.

When angry, it is important to identify our triggers to find ways to resolve the problem and use effective ways of handling our emotions. Anger is adaptive, signaling we have a problem. To calm yourself down, breathe deep and slow. Say,  “Relax. I can figure this out.”


Kashdan, T. B., Goodman, F. R., Mallard, T. T., & DeWall, C. N. (2015). What triggers anger in everyday life? Links to the intensity, control, and regulation of these emotions, and personality traits. Journal of Personality.

Show More
Back to top button