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Health Psychol. 2010 May;29(3):324-32. doi: 10.1037/a0019072.

Unhealthy aggression: intermittent explosive disorder and adverse physical health outcomes.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Temple University, 1701 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA.



To examine the relationship between Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED; a psychiatric diagnosis characterized by episodes of affective aggression) and adverse physical health outcomes.


A large epidemiological sample drawn from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiological Surveys (N = 10,366), was used to compare participants with a lifetime diagnosis of IED (n = 929) to those without any history of IED (n = 9,437) on demographic variables (age, education, gender, race) common risk factors (smoking status, body mass index, substance use disorders, past accident or injury requiring treatment, major depression) and the presence of 12 adverse health outcomes.


History of heart attacks, coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, back/neck pain, ulcer, headaches, and other chronic pain.


Logistic regression analysis controlling for demographic and other risk factors indicated that IED was associated with 9 of the 12 adverse physical health outcomes (coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, back/neck pain, ulcer, headaches, and other chronic pain). Only cancer, heart attacks, and lung disease were not significantly related to IED.


IED may be a risk factor for several significant adverse physical health outcomes.

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