Anger, aggression, and risky behavior: a comparison of high and low anger drivers

Behav Res Ther. 2003 Jun;41(6):701-18. doi: 10.1016/s0005-7967(02)00046-3.


This research tested hypotheses from state-trait anger theory applied to anger while driving. High and low anger drivers drove equally often and as many miles, but high anger drivers reported more frequent and intense anger and more aggression and risky behavior in daily driving, greater anger in frequently occurring situations, more frequent close calls and moving violations, and greater use of hostile/aggressive and less adaptive/constructive ways of expressing anger. In low impedance simulations, groups did not differ on state anger or aggression; however, high anger drivers reported greater state anger and verbal and physical aggression in high impedance simulations. High anger drivers drove at higher speeds in low impedance simulations and had shorter times and distances to collision and were twice as likely to crash in high impedance simulations. Additionally, high anger drivers were more generally angry. Hypotheses were generally supported, and few gender differences were noted for anger and aggression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology
  • Adult
  • Aggression*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anger*
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Factors