Anger and injury

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: April 26th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It’s an easy cartoon scene to picture: A man changing a flat tire struggles to loosen a frozen lug nut and becomes so annoyed he kicks the rim. Next, he’s hopping on one foot while holding his other hurt foot is his hand.

New research about anger and injury shows this type of mishap is not just true for unfortunate fictional characters. Once the cartoon stars clear, results of this hotheaded behavior are also visible daily in hospital emergency rooms.

Researchers from the University of Missouri at Columbia questioned about twenty-four-hundred injured patients in emergency rooms and found that about a third reported feeling some anger prior to being injured. Those who described themselves as feeling “hostile” before getting hurt faced twice the risk of injury.

Not surprisingly, anger was associated with many intentionally inflicted injuries, such as those caused during fights. However, road rage did not lead to injuries. The findings were described in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Men were more likely than women to combine anger and injury.

Researchers found plenty of angry uninjured people in their control group, too. By phone, researchers surveyed a random sampling of eighteen-hundred community members to gauge their feelings of anger. About a third described themselves as irritated and about ten percent said they were angry.

While it might seem humorous in a cartoon, the research reveals anger is often present in our society… and often occurs prior to injuries. That suggests tempering your temper could help your health.