Angry Men Shouldn't Drink

High anger level, low anger control increase risk of alcohol-related violence

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MONDAY, June 14, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Men with high levels of trait anger and low levels of anger control should not drink alcohol, says a study in the June issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Trait anger refers to a tendency to experience frequent and intense episodes of anger. Previous research identified trait anger as a risk factor for alcohol-related aggression.

"Our previous research showed that men with high levels of trait anger are most at risk for becoming violent when they drink," corresponding author Peter G. Giancola, an associate professor of psychology and director of the University of Kentucky Alcohol Research Laboratory, said in a prepared statement.

"This study adds to that by showing that the combination of high trait anger and low anger control even further increases your risk," Giancola said.

The study included 164 men, aged 21 to 35, who were social drinkers. Their trait anger and anger control levels were assessed. They were then given either alcohol or a placebo and took part in a laboratory-based aggression test.

The study found that higher levels of trait anger were associated with increased aggression, but only among men who were drunk and also had low levels of anger control.

"This topic is exceedingly relevant as, generally, alcohol intoxication co-occurs with violence in approximately half of all rapes, murders and assaults, including family violence," researcher Robert O. Pihl, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal, said in a prepared statement.

"The significance of this correlation is typically ignored by society, possibly because the nature of the relationship remains argumentative. This study and others like it are slowly illuminating the mechanisms and vulnerabilities involved in the alcohol/aggression relationship," Pihl said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has advice on how to cut down on your drinking.

SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, news release, June 14, 2004


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