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Brief Reports   |    
The Diagnosis of Anger as a Presenting Complaint in Outpatient Medical Settings
Nate L. Ewigman, M.S., M.P.H.; Julius A. Gylys, Ph.D.; Jeffrey S. Harman, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2013; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201200329
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The authors are with the University of Florida, P.O. Box 100165, Gainesville, FL 32610 (e-mail: newigman@phhp.ufl.edu). Mr. Ewigman is with the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, where Dr. Gylys is also affiliated, and with the Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy, where Dr. Harman is also affiliated.

Copyright © 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association


Objective  This study examined the diagnostic patterns for individuals presenting with a complaint of anger.

Methods  The study examined the rates of psychiatric diagnoses in a nationally representative sample of visits (N=1,005,628) to outpatient medical settings by adults who presented with a complaint of anger. Data were from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 1998–2008.

Results  Anger accounted for .14% (N=1,146) of the presenting complaints among all adults and was associated with being uninsured, Medicaid enrollment, Caucasian race, male gender, and younger age. Eighty-four percent of visits with an anger complaint included a psychiatric diagnosis, with 44% of diagnoses characterized as “not otherwise specified.”

Conclusions  Individuals who presented with a complaint of anger received a range of conventional mental health diagnoses. These findings suggested a pattern of diagnosis of a presenting complaint of anger that may encourage inadequate or improper treatment.

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Table 1Proportion of visits by adults with a presenting complaint of anger that included a psychiatric diagnosisa
Table Footer Note

a Data are from a nationally representative sample of 1,005,628 visits by adults to office-based and outpatient department settings. Percentages are weighted.



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