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Differences in Anger Expression Between
Individuals With and Without Headache After
Controlling for Depression and Anxiety
Nicholson RA, Gramling SE, Ong JC,
Buenevar L.
Posted September 2003
Headache. 2003;43:651-663

Objective: To evaluate whether anger and anger expression are different between persons with and without headache after controlling for depression and anxiety.

Background: Persons with headache may experience more problems with anger and its expression when compared with persons without headache. It is important to establish whether differences exist for persons with and without headache on trait anger and anger expression independent of depression and anxiety. To date, however, this issue has received little attention in the empirical literature. The current study measured trait anger, anger-in, hostility, anxiety, and depression among persons with and without headache, and evaluated whether trait anger and anger-in differentiated groups independent of depression and anxiety.

Conclusions: The current findings indicate that persons with headache hold their anger in more than those without headache even after controlling for levels of trait anger, depression, and anxiety. However, after controlling for depression and anxiety, individuals no longer differed on trait anger. Also, anger-in was the strongest predictor of headache. The current findings suggest that holding anger in is more common among headache sufferers. Given recent findings regarding the negative effect of holding anger in among persons with pain conditions, this may be an important factor to evaluate when considering psychological/emotional factors affecting headache.