The purpose of this study is to raise awareness regarding negative social triggers of anger among adolescents and examine how they compare between gender. A comprehensive literature review revealed 6 variables commonly known to stimulate anger among adolescents. These include the following: (a) racial differences and environmental influences, (b) stage of pubertal development, (c) social status, (d) gay harassment, (e) social rejection, and (f) school adjustment / academic structure. The researcher then created an Anger Assessment Questionnaire (AAQ), a survey which presented scenarios representing the aforementioned categories, excluding stage of pubertal development. Because literature emphasizes the school environment as a common locale for provocations of anger among adolescents, the questionnaire was administered, along with the Beck Anger Inventory for Youth (BANI-Y), within an academic setting. The sample consisted of 38 male and female students in eighth grade at a school in southern California. Research questions explored gender differences among anticipated responses to harassment situations. T-tests were used to analyze responses to the AAQ and BANI-Y, and correlations compared responses between gender on both measures. There were no statistically significant differences between gender on the AAQ. On the BANI-Y, females reported experiencing a higher frequency of anger. Contrary to the investigator's expectation, there were both males and females who anticipated having an aggressive response ("I would fight with others") to various scenarios on the AAQ. These findings were surprising to the researcher and should be used to increase awareness among parents, teachers, school administrators, and youth, regarding the propensity for negative social situations to trigger a level of anger that could lead to aggression or violence. In addition, though previous research and social stereotypes tend to portray males as overt aggressors, it should not be taken for granted that females can be just as likely to react to social scenarios with externalized aggressive behavior. Results demonstrate the need for vigilant monitoring of anger-triggering situations among adolescents and timely interventions which could prevent harm and/or save lives. Future research should further explore gender differences of adolescent anger and provocative social triggers, and the rapidly expanding domain of internet harassment.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Anger in adolescence -- Testing

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Martinez, Tomás;