Anger and aggression in PTSD

Curr Opin Psychol. 2017 Apr;14:67-71. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.11.008. Epub 2016 Dec 1.


Trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder have massive negative consequences; associated anger and aggression are particularly damaging. This overview focuses on these relationships and their potential mechanisms, and offers treatment considerations. Research and theory suggests that trauma impacts anger and aggression through social information processing mechanisms, and an aggression model incorporating impelling, instigating, and disinhibiting factors helps us understand who is at risk under specific circumstances. The association between PTSD and anger and aggression appears stronger for men than women, perhaps reflecting differences in internalizing versus externalizing responses to trauma. Some research indicates that intervention for those with PTSD and anger/aggression problems is effective, and recent studies indicate the benefits of trauma-informed violence prevention for trauma-exposed populations more broadly.

Publication types

  • Review