Associations of dimensions of anger with distress following traumatic bereavement

Lonneke I.M. Lenferink, Angela Nickerson, Shraddha Kashyap, Jos de Keijser, Paul A. Boelen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
210 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: A prior study with people exposed to a traumatic event indicated that posttraumatic anger is a multidimensional construct that consists of five factors comprising anger at (a) the criminal justice system, (b) other people, (c) the self, and (d) a perpetrator and (e) a desire for revenge. Preliminary evidence shows that anger at the self and perpetrators is related to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Expanding the focus from trauma victims to people exposed to a traumatic loss of a significant other, for example, due to road traffic accidents, may enhance our knowledge on factors that are amenable to change in the treatment of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) and PTSD. Method: We examined the (a) factor structure of the 20-item Posttraumatic Anger Questionnaire in 209 Dutch people bereaved by road traffic accidents using confirmatory factor analysis and (b) associations between the posttraumatic anger factors and PGD and PTSD using structural equation models. Results: The expected five-factor structure of the Posttraumatic Anger Questionnaire was supported. Anger at the self was related to greater PGD (β =.35) and PTSD (β=.50) symptoms over and above known risk factors of distress. A desire for revenge (β =.20) was uniquely and positively associated with PTSD symptoms. Conclusion: Pending replication of our findings in longitudinal studies, we conclude that anger subtypes relate differently to distress after traumatic loss. Anger toward the self seems the most detrimental type of anger and may therefore be an important target in treatment

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-183
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number2
Early online dateMay 2022
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2022


  • Anger
  • Bereavement
  • Grief
  • Angry
  • Posttraumatic stress


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