The structural and contextual analysis of anger in urban African-American adolescents

Teresa Cristina Herrero-Taylor, University of Pennsylvania


African American adolescent psychological functioning has been largely neglected both theoretically and empirically. This is critical given that African Americans as a group have been oppressed and discriminated against, a social status that has consequences for psychological functioning thereby warranting an investigation of that nature. Considering the potential physical and mental health consequences of anger, attention must be focused on the validation of assessment measures. Although the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (Spielberger, 1996) has been used with African American adolescents, no specific analyses have investigated whether it is valid for this population. Using a sample of 570 low-income, urban African American young adolescents, factor analyses, process analyses, t-tests, correlational analyses, regression analyses, MANOVA, and cluster analyses were conducted using the STAXI and psychosocial measures. The factor structure differed slightly and different trends based on gender were apparent. Resulting from the process analysis, one item was eliminated and several items should be rephrased. Internal consistency and test-retest reliabilities were adequate for anger subscales. The discriminant validity of State Anger and the State-Trait distinction was questionable across a four-week time period. Higher order factor analyses suggested an alternate approach to scale conceptualization. Significant differences in many of the anger subscales for males and females as compared to standardization sample adolescents. Females reported greater levels of Anger In as compared to males in the present study. Results revealed significant relationships between anger and gender, neighborhood risk, depressive symptoms, kinship support, neighborhood support, racial socialization, calamity fears, and religiousness. A four-cluster solution focusing on anger and social supports was generated for males and females. Findings support the importance of understanding anger in the context of gender and neighborhood risk. It is imperative that the contexts of anger for this population are fully understood and not be assumed based on the mass media's caricature of a select handful. Findings suggest revision and differential interpretation of the STAXI for urban African American youth. Multi-modal assessment and intervention based on gender and neighborhood risk appear to be warranted for African American youth.

Subject Area

School counseling|Quantitative psychology|Black studies|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Herrero-Taylor, Teresa Cristina, "The structural and contextual analysis of anger in urban African-American adolescents" (1999). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9926136.