Location: Bradley Hospital

Bradley Hospital

What Are the Roots of an Anger Problem?


An anger problem may stem from modeling, underlying psychological and emotional conflicts, psychiatric disorders or temperamental differences.


Modeling is the act of learning through observing others who are role models. By imitating a role model's behavior, anger problems become a "bad habit."

Underlying psychological and emotional conflicts

  • Unresolved losses and grief
  • Past unresolved abuse
  • Harboring envy or bitterness toward unfair circumstances or situations in the present or past
  • Suppressed emotional needs
  • Extremely high need for control (i.e., due to perfectionism)
  • Suppressed feelings of sadness, embarrassment, shame or hurt feelings

Psychiatric Disorder

Psychiatric disorders may be the underlying reason for a teenager's anger problem. Anger may be a feature of a disorder or may be a reaction to the frustration of having a psychiatric disorder.

Disorders may include ADHD, bipolar disorder, childhood depression, intermittent explosive disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder or traumatic brain injuries. Alcoholism and drug abuse may also contribute to anger problems.

Temperamental Differences

Parents may observe that different children have characteristic ways of responding to various situations, which may be noticeable as early as infancy. For example, some children are more emotionally reactive that others, some adapt less readily to new situations, etc. These differences, in combination with other factors, may contribute to a greater likelihood of anger management difficulties.