Problematic anger and economic difficulties: Findings from the Millennium Cohort Study

J Affect Disord. 2022 Jan 15:297:679-685. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.10.078. Epub 2021 Oct 25.


Background: The role of problematic anger in relation to economic difficulties is not well understood. This study examined the association of problematic anger with 4 elements of economic difficulties among service members and veterans.

Methods: Study participants (n = 95,895) were from the Millennium Cohort Study, and included U.S. service members and veterans; analyses were restricted to a Reserve/National Guard and/or veteran sample as appropriate. Key measures included the Dimensions of Anger Reactions scale and self-reported economic variables (involuntary job loss, financial problems, unemployment and homelessness). Covariates included demographics, military characteristics, disabling injury or illness, problem drinking, posttraumatic stress disorder, and major depressive disorder. The study design was cross-sectional.

Results: Among all participants, 17.4% screened positive for problematic anger, 29.7% reported involuntary job loss, and 6.4% reported financial problems. After adjustment for covariates, problematic anger was associated with involuntary job loss (AOR=1.28; 95% CI: 1.22, 1.33) and financial problems (AOR=1.46; 95% CI: 1.36, 1.57). Among veterans, 12.1% reported being unemployed; among Reserve/National Guard and veterans, 2.3% reported homelessness. Problematic anger was associated with unemployment (AOR=1.28, 95% CI: 1.18, 1.37) and homelessness (AOR=1.33; 95% CI: 1.16, 1.52) after adjusting for covariates.

Limitations: The study relied on self-report data and directionality could not be established.

Conclusions: Problematic anger was significantly associated with involuntary job loss, financial problems, unemployment and homelessness, even after adjusting for relevant covariates. These findings have clinical relevance in demonstrating the potential for targeting problematic anger in service members and veterans.

Keywords: Anger; Cohort studies; Financial status; Mental health; Military; Veterans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anger
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder, Major*
  • Humans
  • Military Personnel*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic*
  • Veterans*