An exploration of anger phenomenology in multiple sclerosis

U. Nocentini, G. Tedeschi, R. Migliaccio, D. Dinacci, L. Lavorgna, S. Bonavita, V. Bresciamorra, G. Comanducci, G. Coniglio, P. Livrea, R. Mannu, G. Orefice, M. Paciello, F. Patti, A. Quattrone, G. Salemi, G. Savettieri, I. L. Simone, P. Valentino, M. ZappiaV. Bonavita, M. Musicco, C. Caltagirone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and purpose: Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are often emotionally disturbed. We investigated anger in these patients in relation to demographic, clinical, and mood characteristics. Patients and methods: About 195 cognitively unimpaired MS patients (150 relapsing-remitting and 45 progressive) were evaluated with the State Trait Anger Expression Inventory, the Chicago Multiscale Depression Inventory, and the State Trait Anxiety Inventory. The patients' anger score distribution was compared with that of the normal Italian population. Correlation coefficients among scale scores were calculated and mean anger scores were compared across different groups of patients by analysis of variance. Results: Of the five different aspects of anger, levels of withheld and controlled Anger were respectively higher and lower than what is expected in the normal population. Although anger was correlated with anxiety and depression, it was largely independent from these mood conditions. Mean anger severity scores were not strongly influenced by individual demographic characteristics and were not higher in more severe patients. Conclusions: The presence of an altered pattern of anger, unrelated to the clinical severity of MS, suggests that anger is not an emotional reaction to disease stress. An alteration of anger mechanisms might be a direct consequence of the demyelination of the connections among the amygdale, the basal ganglia and the medial prefrontal cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1312-1317
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Disability
  • Multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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