Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Spielberger, Charles D.

Keywords

children, assessment, anxiety, depression, anger

Abstract

The goals of this study were to evaluate anger, depression, and anxiety in children and adolescents with aggressive/homicidal (A/H) and depressive/suicidal (D/S) problems and to compare these clinical groups with each other and a normal control group. The State Trait Anger Expression Inventory for Children and Adolescents (STAXI C/A), the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI), and the Pediatric Anxiety Scale (PANX) were administered to the Clinical (N=114) and Normal (N=353) groups ranging from 9-18 years of age. The Clinical group was comprised of 18 A/H, 87 D/S, and 18 Comorbid children with both problems. The Clinical group had significantly higher scores on the STAXI C/A State and Trait Anger and Anger-Out scales, and higher scores on the CDI Total scale and Interpersonal Problems, Negative Mood, and Negative Self-Esteem subscales. They also had higher PANX State Anxiety scores.

These differences were primarily due to substantially higher Clinical Comorbid group scores. Similarly, the Clinical Comorbid scores on most of the anger, depression, and anxiety scales were higher than the Normal and Clinical scores. The D/S group had significantly higher scores than the A/H group on the STAXI C/A Anger-Out scale, the CDI Negative Mood subscale and the PANX State Anxiety scale. The D/S group has significantly higher scores than the Normals on the CDI Negative Mood, Interpersonal Problems, and Negative Self Esteem subscales, and a higher State Anxiety score. Although not statistically significant, the A/H group had noticeably higher Anger-In and Anger-Control/Out scores than the D/S group. In contrast, the scores of the A/H group on State and Trait Anger were somewhat lower than those of the other clinical groups, as well as the Normals.

This pattern of findings for the A/H group was interpreted as possibly due to the operation of psychological defense mechanisms. The findings indicated the procedure for assignment into the A/H group was unrelated to the mean level of anger that they reported. Since assignment to clinical groups guided inpatient treatment planning, these results suggest that administration of anger, depression, and anxiety measures assessing both state and trait features would likely facilitate better assignment and more effective treatment.

Share

COinS