How angry are you? That’s what a lot of TikTokers tried to answer when they participated in a “challenge” surrounding the Multidimensional Anger Test. Set to an aggressive soundtrack with a killer beat drop, users shared their results from the online test. But what do those results mean? Should you take this test? How does someone “change” how angry they feel and how often they express it?
This page will give you the answers to all of these questions and more!
What is the Multidimensional Anger Test?
The Multidimensional Anger Test is a test that measures your susceptibility to anger and compares it to the rest of the population. It’s a 38-question test that you can find on IDRLabs.com. The test has a great reputation and is based on the work of Dr. Judith M. Seigel.
Who is Judith M. Seigel?
Dr. Judith M. Seigel is a professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Her work focuses on the connection between stress and health. Anger can make an impact on your physical and mental health, so taking the Multidimensional Anger test can be a healthy thing to do!
How to Take the Test and Read Your Results
Taking the test is easy. All you have to do is answer 38 questions about your experiences with feeling and expressing anger. You will have to share whether you disagree or agree, on a scale, with statements like:
- “I get angry when I am delayed.”
- “I sometimes get so angry, I feel like I might lose control.”
- “If (or when) I hide my anger from others, I think about the thing that made me angry for a long time afterwards.”
Once you answer the questions, the website will show you how you compare to the general population in six areas:
- Anger Arousal
- Anger Spectrum
- Hostile Outlook
- Internal Anger
- External Anger
- Total Score
Go ahead and take the test. The answers might surprise you!
If your scores are higher than normal, keep reading.
What Is Anger?
Anger is a basic human emotion that we usually experience if we feel that we have been “wronged” by another person, a group, or ourselves. The offending party may fail to meet the expectations we have for ourselves, our lives, and certain situations.
Of course, this is a pretty emotionless definition of anger. The results of anger may not be so textbook. Feelings of anger may result in restlessness, changes within the physical body, and violent actions. Psychologists are still not sure “which comes first” when it comes to physical symptoms or the cognitive recognition of anger. But, if not properly managed, these symptoms can be dangerous.
When we further look at the causes of anger, we can find ways to set us up for success and prevent bursts of anger that can cause harm to ourselves and others.
Causes of Anger
People experience anger for many different reasons. In a TED Talk with anger researcher Ryan Martin, he shares there are a few many provocations that may lead to anger:
- Goals are blocked
- Avoidable situations
- Feelings of powerlessness
Stubbing your toe can make you angry. A partner who messes up the directions and re-routes your trip can make you angry. Racism, misogyny, exploitation - there are many reasons to get angry.
How we interpret the situation, in combination with how we are feeling before the provocative situation, contributes to whether or not we feel angry. Here’s an example of how all these factors come together to make someone angry.
You and your partner are on your way to visit your in-laws. The idea of seeing your in-laws makes you squirm already: they don’t try to make you comfortable and might even say something offensive at dinner. You are driving and your partner is giving you directions. Halfway through the trip, your partner realizes that they put the wrong restaurant in the GPS and you will need to re-route. This adds 15 minutes to your trip time. You start to feel angry.
A lot of interpretations of your partner’s mistake may have contributed to your anger:
- Your partner was being careless when they put the directions into the GPS.
- Even though your in-laws won’t be upset with your partner, they may be upset with you for being late.
- If you had just put the directions in yourself, you wouldn’t be in this situation.
- There is no way to avoid being late for dinner now.
- Pulling over to take a few deep breaths will only make you late, so you just have to keep on driving.
Any of these interpretations, combined with the stress of seeing your in-laws, can certainly evoke angry feelings. Using this example, we can look at ways to avoid feeling angry.
How To Manage Anger
Knowing what contributes to anger, these tips can help you manage anger in the moment, and over a long period of time:
Be Mindful of Your Emotions
In the example above, dinner with the in-laws contributes just as much to the person’s anger as the partner’s mistake. If the person were going to a birthday party or on a leisurely drive through town, they might feel differently after realizing they needed to re-route. We cannot avoid every stressful situation, but we can do our best to manage our stress so that when we are “wronged,” we don’t experience intense anger.
Mindfulness, journaling, and therapy can help you tap into how you are feeling. As you get in tune with your emotions, you can recognize when you are feeling stressed and more susceptible to anger. In situations like these, you can re-adjust your expectations or have additional plans in case things go wrong.
Adjust Your Explanatory Styles
Positive psychologists have explored the different styles that people use to explain failure. We can look at failure as temporary or permanent, global or local, or caused by internal or external factors. In the example above, the person can shift their perspective and remind themselves that:
- Even though they might be late this one time, they are always on time and polite every other time they go to dinner with their in-laws.
- One instance of carelessness does not mean that a partner is a careless person overall.
- Moving forward, the partner has the ability to double-check where they are going and prevent further mistakes.
Seeing this mistake as a one-time thing makes the situation much more palatable. You may still feel “wronged” in the moment, but overall if you are not “wronged” by your partner or yourself, you’re doing pretty good!
Seek Support From Others
It can be hard to feel optimistic about anger management if anger has resulted in you causing violence to yourself or others. Simply being mindful of your feelings or your explanatory styles may seem like baby steps when you really need to make a big leap. If your anger is a problem that feels out of your control, reach out to professionals. There is no shame in asking for help. Talking to a therapist or joining an anger management group is a positive deed that you can do for yourself, your family and friends, and your colleagues.
How Do You Know If You Have Anger Issues?
Maybe you’ve taken the Multidimensional Anger Test and you’re surprised by how high you’ve scored. Do you have anger issues? Here are some signs that you might want to seek professional help:
- When you get angry, you feel out of control and do things you later regret.
- People around you have felt hurt by your anger and set up boundaries to separate themselves from you.
- You have lost a job, a promotion, or an opportunity because of your anger.
- You do not like yourself because of what your anger has cost you.
- More often than not, you feel irritated at yourself or the world.
- The mistakes and memories of your past feel like they are haunting you.
If you believe, in your gut, that you need help, seek help. The CDC offers resources for immediate support, or you can reach out to a counselor or anger management group to help you overcome your anger issues.