Anger under control: neural correlates of frustration as a function of trait aggression.
ABSTRACT: Antisocial behavior and aggression are prominent symptoms in several psychiatric disorders including antisocial personality disorder. An established precursor to aggression is a frustrating event, which can elicit anger or exasperation, thereby prompting aggressive responses. While some studies have investigated the neural correlates of frustration and aggression, examination of their relation to trait aggression in healthy populations are rare. Based on a screening of 550 males, we formed two extreme groups, one including individuals reporting high (n=21) and one reporting low (n=18) trait aggression. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 3T, all participants were put through a frustration task comprising unsolvable anagrams of German nouns. Despite similar behavioral performance, males with high trait aggression reported higher ratings of negative affect and anger after the frustration task. Moreover, they showed relatively decreased activation in the frontal brain regions and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) as well as relatively less amygdala activation in response to frustration. Our findings indicate distinct frontal and limbic processing mechanisms following frustration modulated by trait aggression. In response to a frustrating event, HA individuals show some of the personality characteristics and neural processing patterns observed in abnormally aggressive populations. Highlighting the impact of aggressive traits on the behavioral and neural responses to frustration in non-psychiatric extreme groups can facilitate further characterization of neural dysfunctions underlying psychiatric disorders that involve abnormal frustration processing and aggression.
Project description:Theoretical and empirical work suggests that aggression in those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) occurs primarily in the context of emotional reactivity, especially anger and shame, in response to perceived rejection. Using intensive repeated measures, we examined a within-person process model in which perceived rejection predicts increases in aggressive urges and behaviors via increases in negative affect (indirect effect) and in which BPD symptoms exacerbate this process (moderated mediation). Participants were 117 emerging adult women (ages 18-24) with recent histories of aggressive behavior who were recruited from a community-based longitudinal study of at-risk youth. Personality disorder symptoms were assessed by semistructured clinical interview, and aggressive urges, threats, and behaviors were measured in daily life during a 3-week ecological momentary assessment protocol. Multilevel path models revealed that within-person increases in perceived rejection predicted increases in negative affect, especially in women with greater BPD symptoms. In turn, increases in negative affect predicted increased likelihood of aggressive urges or behaviors. Further analysis revealed that BPD symptoms predicted greater anger and shame reactivity to perceived rejection, but not to criticism or insult. Additionally, only anger was associated with increases in aggression after controlling for other negative emotions. Whereas BPD symptoms exacerbated the link between perceived rejection and aggression via increases in negative affect (particularly anger), this process was attenuated in women with greater antisocial personality disorder symptoms. These findings suggest that anger reactivity to perceived rejection is one unique pathway, distinct from antisocial personality disorder, by which BPD symptoms increase risk for aggression. (PsycINFO Database Record
Project description:This study investigated the acute effects of oxytocin (OT) on human aggression using a well-established laboratory measure of state (reactive) aggression to test the hypothesis that OT would decrease the frequency of aggressive responding. In a within-subject design, 17 healthy male volunteers received placebo or 24 IU of intranasal OT. Aggression was measured using the Point Subtraction Aggression Paradigm at 30 min before and 30, 60, and 90 min after dose. Acute OT did not produce a significant main effect on aggressive behavior. OT attenuated the expected rise in diastolic blood pressure from morning to early afternoon observed under placebo, providing a possible indication of biological activity. Examination of individual differences showed that aggressive responding following OT dosing (but not placebo) was positively correlated with psychometric measures of interpersonal manipulation and anger (Pearson's r=0.57), indicating that higher scores on these antisocial personality traits were related to increased aggressive behavior following OT administration. These preliminary results stand in contrast to previous work on the prosocial effects of OT and highlight the need for further understanding of individual differences in aggression following OT administration. Such individual differences may have implications for the therapeutic use of OT in individuals with psychiatric disorders and dysfunctional social behavior.
Project description:This study explores the existence of different types of batterers in a sample of 266 men who had been court referred for intimate partner violence. The data collected in the assessment that have been used to perform a hierarchical and a two-step cluster analysis fall into three areas: aggression towards the partner, general aggression and presence of psychopathology and personality traits, more specifically, alcohol use, borderline and antisocial personality traits, psychopathy traits, state anger and trait anger, anger expression and control, anger, hostility, and, finally, impulsivity. The results show a typology consisting of 3 types of batterers on the basis of violence level and psychopathology: low (65%), moderate (27.8%) and high (7.1%). This study provides empirical support for the development of batterer typologies. These typologies will help achieve early detection of different types of batterers, allowing us to tailor interventions on the basis of the needs of each of the types.
Project description:Anger is among the earliest occurring symptoms of mental health, yet we know little about its developmental course. Further, no studies have examined whether youth with persistent anger are at an increased risk of exhibiting antisocial personality features in adulthood, or how cognitive control abilities may protect these individuals from developing such maladaptive outcomes. Trajectories of anger were delineated among 503 boys using annual assessments from childhood to middle adolescence (ages ?7-14). Associations between these trajectories and features of antisocial personality in young adulthood (age ?28) were examined, including whether cognitive control moderates this association. Five trajectories of anger were identified (i.e., childhood-onset, childhood-limited, adolescent-onset, moderate, and low). Boys in the childhood-onset group exhibited the highest adulthood antisocial personality features (e.g., psychopathy, aggression, criminal charges). However, boys in this group were buffered from these problems if they had higher levels of cognitive control during adolescence. Findings were consistent across measures from multiple informants, replicated across distinct time periods, and remained when controlling for general intelligence and prior antisocial behavior. This is the first study to document the considerable heterogeneity in the developmental course of anger from childhood to adolescence. As hypothesized, good cognitive control abilities protected youth with persistent anger problems from developing antisocial personality features in adulthood. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.
Project description:Infants' temperamental anger or frustration reactions are highly stable, but are also influenced by maturation and experience. It is yet unclear why some infants high in anger or frustration reactions develop disruptive behavior problems whereas others do not. We examined family regularity, conceptualized as the consistency of mealtime and bedtime routines, as a protective factor against the development of oppositional and aggressive behavior. This study used prospectively collected data from 3136 families participating in the Generation R Study. Infant anger or frustration reactions and family regularity were reported by mothers when children were ages 6 months and 2-4 years, respectively. Multiple informants (parents, teachers, and children) and methods (questionnaire and interview) were used in the assessment of children's oppositional and aggressive behavior at age 6. Higher levels of family regularity were associated with lower levels of child aggression independent of temperamental anger or frustration reactions (? = -0.05, p = 0.003). The association between child oppositional behavior and temperamental anger or frustration reactions was moderated by family regularity and child gender (? = 0.11, p = 0.046): family regularity reduced the risk for oppositional behavior among those boys who showed anger or frustration reactions in infancy. In conclusion, family regularity reduced the risk for child aggression and showed a gender-specific protective effect against child oppositional behavior associated with anger or frustration reactions. Families that ensured regularity of mealtime and bedtime routines buffered their infant sons high in anger or frustration reactions from developing oppositional behavior.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The influence of genetic variation on resting-state neural networks represents a burgeoning line of inquiry in psychiatric research. Monoamine oxidase A, an X-linked gene, is one example of a molecular target linked to brain activity in psychiatric illness. Monoamine oxidase A genetic variants, including the high and low variable nucleotide tandem repeat polymorphisms, have been shown to differentially affect brain functional connectivity in healthy humans. However, it is currently unknown whether these same polymorphisms influence resting-state brain activity in clinical conditions. Given its high burden on society and strong connection to violent behavior, antisocial personality disorder is a logical condition to study, since in vivo markers of monoamine oxidase A brain enzyme are reduced in key affect-modulating regions, and striatal levels of monoamine oxidase A show a relation with the functional connectivity of this same region. METHODS:We utilized monoamine oxidase A genotyping and seed-to-voxel-based functional connectivity to investigate the relationship between genotype and corticostriatal connectivity in 21 male participants with severe antisocial personality disorder and 19 male healthy controls. RESULTS:Dorsal striatal connectivity to the frontal pole and anterior cingulate gyrus differentiated antisocial personality disorder subjects and healthy controls by monoamine oxidase A genotype. Furthermore, the linear relationship of proactive aggression to superior ventral striatal-angular gyrus functional connectivity differed by monoamine oxidase A genotype in the antisocial personality disorder groups. CONCLUSIONS:These results suggest that monoamine oxidase A genotype may affect corticostriatal connectivity in antisocial personality disorder and that these functional connections may also underlie use of proactive aggression in a genotype-specific manner.
Project description:Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with both aggressive and suicidal behavior. Recent research suggests that the diagnosis of intermittent explosive disorder (IED), an impulse-control disorder characterized by repeated impulsive aggressive behavior, may help to identify individuals at risk for attempting suicide. Given the relationship between anger and PTSD, there is likely to be an increased prevalence of IED among individuals with PTSD; however, little is known about the overlap in these two disorders, including how individuals with comorbid IED and PTSD may differ from those with either disorder alone. The purpose of this study is to examine the clinical correlates of comorbid IED and PTSD and the contribution of these two disorders (among others) to lifetime suicide attempt and characteristics of suicidal behavior.In a large sample of community research volunteers (N=1460), we compared individuals with PTSD, IED, and comorbid PTSD and IED on measures of current mood, trait aggression, and trait impulsivity. We also examined the contributions of PTSD, IED, and other syndromal and personality disorders to the prediction of lifetime aggression and lifetime suicide attempt, and their relationship to characteristics of suicide attempts, including level of intent, use of violent versus non-violent means, and the medical seriousness of the attempt.Comorbid PTSD and IED was associated with significantly elevated levels of depression, anxiety, anger, aggression, and impulsivity, as well as with high rates of comorbidity with other psychiatric disorders. IED (?=.56, p<.001), but not PTSD, significantly and uniquely predicted lifetime aggressive behavior. Both IED and PTSD were associated with lifetime suicide attempt in multivariate analysis (ORs: 1.6 and 1.6, ps<.05). The results show that IED, when comorbid with PTSD, identifies a subgroup of individuals with particularly high levels of aggressive behavior and a high rate of suicide attempt (41.4% in this sample).These findings add support to the notion that the diagnosis of IED may aid in identifying individuals at risk for aggressive and suicidal behavior.
Project description:PURPOSE OF REVIEW:To review the current literature on biobehavioral mechanisms involved in reactive aggression in a transdiagnostic approach. RECENT FINDINGS:Aggressive reactions are closely related to activations in the brain's threat circuitry. They occur in response to social threat that is experienced as inescapable, which, in turn, facilitates angry approach rather than fearful avoidance. Provocation-induced aggression is strongly associated with anger and deficits in cognitive control including emotion regulation and inhibitory control. Furthermore, the brain's reward system plays a particular role in anger-related, tit-for-tat-like retaliatory aggression in response to frustration. More research is needed to further disentangle specific brain responses to social threat, provocation, and frustration. A better understanding of the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms involved in reactive aggression may pave the way for specific mechanism-based treatments, involving biological or psychotherapeutic approaches or a combination of the two.
Project description:Based on the General Aggression Model (GAM), the current study investigated the interactive effect of personal factors (e.g., sensation-seeking) and situational factors (e.g., violent video games exposure [VVGE]) on the trait aggressive behavior, and the mediating role of individual difference trait (e.g., moral disengagement, anger, and hostility). We recruited 547 undergraduates (48.45% male) from five Chinese universities. The results showed that VVGE was positively associated with moral disengagement, disinhibition, and the four aggressive traits (physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger, and hostility), which were positively associated with each other. Moral disengagement was positively associated with both the disinhibition and the four aggressive traits. Disinhibition was positively associated with the four aggressive traits as well. When controlled for gender, moral disengagement, anger, and hostility wholly mediated the relationship between VVGE and aggression, but the moderation effect of disinhibition was not significant. These findings support the framework of GAM and indicate that moral disengagement, anger, and hostility may be the factors that increase the risk of a higher level of aggression following repeated exposure to violent video games.
Project description:Endogenous and exogenous cannabinoids bind to central cannabinoid receptors to control a multitude of behavioral functions, including aggression. The first main objective of this review is to dissect components of the endocannabinoid system, including cannabinoid 1 and cannabinoid 2 receptors; the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol; and the indirect cannabinoid modulators fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol lipase; that have shown abnormalities in basic research studies investigating mechanisms of aggression. While most human research has concluded that the active ingredient of marijuana, ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol, tends to dampen rather than provoke aggression in acute doses, recent evidence supports a relationship between the ingestion of synthetic cannabinoids and emergence of violent or aggressive behavior. Thus, another objective is to evaluate the emerging clinical data. This paper also discusses the relationship between prenatal and perinatal exposure to cannabis as well as use of cannabis in adolescence on aggressive outcomes. A final objective of the paper is to discuss endocannabinoid abnormalities in psychotic and affective disorders, as well as clinically aggressive populations, such as borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. With regard to the former condition, decreased anandamide metabolites have been reported in the cerebrospinal fluid, while some preliminary evidence suggests that fatty acid amide hydrolase genetic polymorphisms are linked to antisocial personality disorder and impulsive-antisocial psychopathic traits. To summarize, this paper will draw upon basic and clinical research to explain how the endocannabinoid system may contribute to the genesis of aggressive behavior.