Accounting For Anger: A Thematic Analysis of Participants’ Understanding Of Anger After Undertaking Anger Management

Prof Doc Thesis


Taverner, A. 2021. Accounting For Anger: A Thematic Analysis of Participants’ Understanding Of Anger After Undertaking Anger Management. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.89966
AuthorsTaverner, A.
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

This study examined participant’s accounts, understandings of and relationships with anger after having undertaken some form of participant-identified anger management intervention with an NHS or other service provider in the UK. Whilst previous research in this domain has produced many useful findings, these studies have been predominantly conducted from a positivist perspective. As such, in these studies, participant responses had been constrained via forced-choice questionnaire formats; their responses had been reduced to simple ‘yes/no’ or other quantitative measures and their ability to engage with the topic area in spontaneous, flexible, and ecologically valid ways had been curtailed. In positivist studies participants are not able to argue, debate or engage with the topic area in any meaningful way. As such, our knowledge of their experience and understanding of issues is limited by the methods used to gain that knowledge. In this study six semi-structured one-to-one interviews were conducted asking open questions, seeking to explore, amongst other issues, participants’ relationship with anger. A social constructionist Thematic Analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006) was conducted on the interview data. The thematic analysis yielded four superordinate themes and several subthemes. The superordinate themes were: Constructions of anger linked to perceptions of control in relationships; Constructions of anger linked to perceptions of trust in relationships; Constructions of anger linked to perceptions of emotional distress in relationships and Constructions of anger linked to perceptions of incongruence between relationship experiences. Overall, the four superordinate themes revealed how all the participants appeared to struggle with unproblematically articulating, verbally expressing their experiences of their anger, or indeed any form of emotional distress, as it occurs, in relation to themselves or other people. The findings suggest that undergoing anger management training or aiding per se, does not appear to help participants with being able to unproblematically appraise, articulate, or clarify these emotions. However, anger management may help in other domains. The findings are discussed in relation to policy, education, and health systems. Limitations of this study are also discussed. Suggestions for future research include moving away from realist thematic analysis methods and using more relativist critical psychology approaches, utilising various social media platforms, in research.

KeywordsAnger; social constructionist; discourse
Year2021
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.89966
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Publication dates
Online23 Jul 2021
Publication process dates
Submitted08 Jun 2021
Deposited23 Jul 2021
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