Cognitive Processes Associated With Anger Disorders: The Development of a New Instrument

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Eric R. Dahlen

Advisor Department



Although cognitive therapy is currently the preferred treatment for dysfunctional anger, research on the cognitive processes associated with anger is relatively sparse. One reason for this has been a lack of adequate instrumentation for the measurement of cognitive processes associated with anger. The current study addresses this limitation by developing an instrument to measure the cognitive processes thought to be associated with maladaptive anger. Pilot work identified a set of 72 items written to reflect five domains that cut across cognitive theories of anger: overgeneralizing, inflammatory labeling, demandingness, catastrophic evaluation, and misattributing causation. This item set was administered to 362 participants and principal-component factor analysis was used to develop a 48-item scale, the Cognitive Vulnerability to Anger Scale, consisting of two subscales: Maladaptive Cognitive Processes (40 items) and Adaptive Cognitive Processes (8 items). Additionally, the final instrument's validity was demonstrated through its relationships with the experience and expression/control of anger, hostile thoughts, anger consequences, other negative emotions, and common positive and negative cognitive processes.