Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The present study assessed whether neuropsychological tests could be used to discriminate between groups of CHI individuals with closed head injuries (CHI): those with anger control problems, and those without. The study also assessed whether these groups differed on tests which assess various aspects of neuropsychological functioning; intelligence, memory skills, language functioning, concept formation and set shifting skills, and psychomotor performance. Forty two individuals with CHI were given neuropsychological tests after assignment to one of two groups: problematic anger (P) or nonproblematic anger (NP). Group assignments were made on the basis of information obtained during the course of: (1) a structured interview with the patient and family member; (2) reports from the patient's physician; (3) the patient's score on the Novaco Anger Inventory. Injury severity was estimated from information obtained from the interview and medical records. The groups differed significantly on factors such as educational level (p < .05), injury severity (p < .05), sex ratio (p < .004), and FSIQ (p < .001). The P group (N = 22) was predominantly male, more severely injured, and of lower intelligence as compared to the NP group (N = 20). The groups did not differ on age, time since injury, handedness, or race. These groups differed in memory skills (p < .002), and language functioning (p < .001), with the P group consistently performing at a lower level (MANOVA analysis). After education was used as a covariate (MANCOVA), the P group continued to show relative deficits on measures of memory (p < .015) and language functioning (p < .001). Discriminant analyses indicated that neuropsychological tests discriminate between these two groups (overall classification rate = 79%). The P group could be discriminated from the NP group on the basis of test performance in the following areas: intelligence (p < .0009), memory skills (p < .0009), concept formation and set shifting skills (p < .01), and language functioning (p < .0001). This study suggests that CHI individuals with anger control problems have sustained more severe injuries, are more likely to be male, and have greater neuropsychological deficits as compared to CHI individuals without anger control problems. Further research is needed to ascertain whether individuals with anger management problems are more likely to be of below average intelligence on a premorbid basis and if remediation of the pattern of neuropsychological deficits identified may decrease anger control problems.