Addressing the Need for Anger Management in Young People: Using Positive Psychology Interventions

Addressing the Need for Anger Management in Young People: Using Positive Psychology Interventions

Tanya Heasley (University of East London, UK)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0319-5.ch003


Anger in young people is on the increase worldwide and effective anger treatment services are in demand. However, the lack of research on the construct of anger and little evidence-based practice makes it difficult to ascertain the best service for these angry young people. Moreover, there is a lack of extensive evidence and qualitative research in the combination of psychoeducation and positive psychology interventions in anger management programmes for young people. Therefore, this chapter will summarise a phenomenological study of an existing psychoeducational anger management programme in the UK and discuss its findings. This chapter will present anger and positive psychology in the context of developing an effective anger management programme and provide a simple anger management strategy to use as a foundation for developing anger management programmes in schools.
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Anger In Perspective

There are many layers to the construct of anger (Spielberger, 1999), as well as many ways an individual can express their anger - for instance; verbally, physically, self-sabotage and suppressing. Therefore, it is difficult to define or distinguish its core characteristic and its benefit. Nevertheless, according to researchers, anger is neither healthy or unhealthy (Kashdan, Goodman, Mallard, & Dewall, 2015), it is a primary emotion (Ekman, 1992) and how it is expressed determines whether it is healthy or not. Furthermore, anger is subjective, while some perceive it as a negative emotion, others utilise its energy for positive change. In other words, anger can be a useful emotion rather than an unwanted emotion. However, some consider internalised anger and low emotional regulatory can lead to aggressive behaviour (Eisenberg et al., 2001), while others suggest anger itself is not aggression (Kassinove, & Tafrate, 2002), anger is instead, an emotional feeling (Kassinove, & Sukhodolsky, 1995).

At its primary function, when anger is activated, it initiates the fight or flight response (survival instinct) (Lotfali, Moradi, & Ekhtiari, 2016), provides motivational tendencies (Kashdan, et. al., 2015) and somatic energy to respond towards, a perceived threat, or escape from it. Therefore, anger has beneficial properties, in that it provides the energy required to get out of danger. However, suppressing this energy over long periods of time interrupts or disconnects the pathways used to transmit messages between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex in the brain, fundamentally altering its structure which can eventually lead into the development of depression (Gresham, Melvin, & Gullone, 2016) and other mental health issues.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Psychoeducation: A form of treatment that educates an individual about their mental health issue and teach them skills that can help them to manage their mental health problem.

CHAMP: Tristone Coaching’s Children’s Healthy Anger Management Programme is a psychoeducational anger management programme designed to use positive psychology interventions to help young people manage their anger.

Positive Psychology Interventions: Practical strategies to help an individual flourish and thrive.

Anger Management Programme: A practical study of understanding personal anger and learning coping strategies and techniques on how to manage anger.

Positive Psychology: The scientific study of what is right about an individual.

Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Interpretative phenomenological analysis is a qualitative research approach to a psychological phenomenon.

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