The research on trait anger yields many different definitions. One of the most common definitions found referred to trait anger as the predisposition to observe several situations as frustrating and experience frequent states of anger. Anger in terms of the emotion itself was defined as “a basic emotion experienced by almost all human beings in response to the unwanted and unexpected behavior of others” (Tafrate, Kassinove, Dundin, 2002, p. 1573). There is a clear consensus that the emotion anger is experienced frequently my most. The difference in trait anger is that it is imbedded in one’s personality and tends to affect the way one views and reacts to the world. It especially affects those high in trait anger. Individuals with high trait anger may feel enraged often and can be sensitive to being treated unfairly. Trait anger can consist of interrelated elements of cynical beliefs and attributions, angry emotional states and aggressive or antagonistic behaviors.
An example to apply this would be: every day during fourth period Jane Doe always sits in the first seat on the third row. However, today when Jane walks in class Johnny was sitting in her seat. Jane scored high on trait anger so she immediately becomes upset and lashes out at Johnny. He tries to explain to Jane that he was sorry and did not know a seat meant that much to her but Jane is too frustrated to have a rational conversation with Johnny. Had Jane not been high in trait anger she may have been able to have a rational conversation with Johnny and explain to him that she sits there because she wears glasses and cannot see from the back of the class.
It is also important to note that within the research trait anger is sometimes used interchangeable with aggression and hostility. Anger, aggression, and hostility together constructed trait anger. Anger is the experience or affect, aggression is the behavior, and hostility is the cognition.
High-trait and low-trait anger. There has been considerable research done to support that high trait anger adults self-report having more episodes of anger that are more intense and frequent that low trait anger adults ((Tafrate, 2002). In a study done with a sample of adults with both, low and high trait anger; it was founded that high-trait anger adults had a more distorted view of the situation that caused the anger. In the same study they also reported that they were less likely to speak to the individual whom they had the altercation with. This implies that they may have a harder time coping and being able to move on. This has also been reported by college students. Lopez and Thurman found that high-trait college students reported greater anger reactions and greater tendencies to express verbal and physical aggression when provoke as appose to low trait anger college students. They went on to hypothesize that students high-trait anger would say the came from disorganized home (1993). The studies done...