Anger Statistics

Some insightful knowledge

Mental Health Organisation: Boiling Point Report 2008

For Mental Health Action Week 2008, the Mental Health Organisation launched a report ‘Boiling Point‘ about problematic anger, how it affects individuals, families and communities, and what we can do to minimise the harm it causes.

Key findings from the report are:

  • GPs report that they have few options for helping patients who come to them with problem anger.
  • There are some good examples of NHS-funded anger management courses and others being run by voluntary organisations, as well as private sector providers.
  • Where NHS services do not exist GPs can refer people to voluntary sector providers and others, but often aren’t confident to do so.
  • There are approximately 50 published research studies that have tested some kind of intervention for anger problems with adults and another 40 relating to children or adolescents, and researchers have concluded that successful treatments exist for adults, adolescents and children.
  • Almost a third of people polled (32%) say they have a close friend or family member who has trouble controlling their anger.
  • More than one in ten (12%) say that they have trouble controlling their own anger.
  • More than one in four people (28%) say that they worry about how angry they sometimes feel.
  • One in five of people (20%) say that they have ended a relationship or friendship with someone because of how they behaved when they were angry.
  • 64% either strongly agree or agree that people in general are getting angrier.
  • Fewer than one in seven (13%) of those people who say they have trouble controlling their anger have sought help for their anger problems.
  • 58% of people wouldn’t know where to seek help if they needed help with an anger problem.
  • 84% strongly agree or agree that people should be encouraged to seek help if they have problems with anger.
  • Those who have sought help were most likely to do so from a health professional (such as a counsellor, therapist, GP or nurse), rather than from friends and family, social workers, employers or voluntary organisations.
  • Generational differences are striking. Older people are less likely to report having a close friend or family member with an anger problem or to be worried about how angry they sometimes feel or that they have trouble dealing with their own anger, than younger people.
  • There are striking regional differences in responses to our anger polling – especially between Scotland and other parts of the UK.

Office Rage:

The average office worker suffers ‘desk rage’ twice a day – with colleagues taking credit for our work, computer crashes and rude clients the most likely causes. Researchers found 51 per cent of Brits experience fury at work, with rows over who makes the tea and not  having time for a lunch break also upsetting many. 42 per cent of workers are most het up and impatient on a Monday after a hectic weekend.

  • 85% annoyed with people who do not turn off mobile phones during meetings
  • 75% complain people don’t load the photocopier/fax/printer when empty, or jam it and leave it for the next person to fix ·
  • 60% are irritated by people who spend their day gossiping or spreading rumours
  • 50% dislike colleagues talking loudly in the office, often about their private lives ·
  • 50% hate people taking stationery from their desk and not returning it ·
  • 40% dislike petty selfishness [making coffee without offering colleagues one, etc]
  • 30% complain about colleagues’ untidiness in the kitchen and rancid milk
  • 25% hate people who loiter by their desk when they are using the telephone
  • 20% frustrated by colleagues’ increasing lack of personal interaction in work
  • 20% dislike colleagues who look depressed all the time. [The Times Sep 1999]
  • 64% of office workers have experienced office rage [ 2000]
  • 45% staff regularly lose their temper at work [risk managers Smithson Mason Gp]

Computer Rage

  • 50% of Britons have reacted to problems with their computer by either abusing colleagues, hitting the computer, screaming, shouting or hurling parts of the PC.
  • 30% have witnessed physical attacks on computers. [Symantec/NOP 2000]
  • Half of workers are frustrated by the time taken to solve IT problems
  • 40% say computer jargon makes the frustration worse
  • 25% of under 25s admitted to kicking their PCs in PC rage
  • 1 in 6 under 25s feel like taking IT aggression out on someone/thing else
  • 62% say their colleagues regularly swear at their PCs out of frustration
  • 1 in 5 people reacted to computer problems with PC Rage
  • 20% more swore at the computer
  • 54% blamed it on their software
  • 44% experienced some sort of emotional reaction to their computer problems
  • Of the PC rage 20%,
  • 71% walked away in frustration
  • 62% swore or screamed at their computer
  • 22% hit the computer but caused no damage
  • 7% hit the computer and damaged it [Compaq 2000]
  • 53% of network managers say PC problems trigger violence from users.
  • 19% result in a broken keyboard
  • 17 % a shattered monitor
  • 17 % mouse
  • 4 % kicked the hard drive n[From RMI)
  • 1 in 4 office workers admit attacking their computer in some form – often the result of ‘Inbox Tyranny’. One ripped his computer out and dumped it in a skip. [Novatech – Jun 01]
  • Office workers will have to spend 4 hrs a day opening/replying to emails by 2002.
  • This year the number of emails is up 50% [Ferraris Research 2000]
  • Technology is above domestic relationships as a cause of stress (20% to 19%) [International Stress Management Assoc.]
  • Marketing email will increase 40 fold by 2006 [Jupiter analysis Jun 01]

Road Rage

  • Britain is the top road rage country out of 16 European countries
  • British drivers are the first to resort to making rude gestures to vent their anger.
  • Britain had 80.4% of drivers claiming to have been involved in road rage, in Holland 78.1%; Greece 76.6%; France 70% and Germany 69.8%. [Gallup]
  • 90% of drivers have experienced road rage.
  • 60% admitted to losing their temper behind the wheel.
  • 62% said aggressive tailgating was most common form
  • 59% headlight flashing
  • 48% obscene gestures
  • 21% deliberate obstruction
  • 16% verbal abuse
  • 1% physical assault [AA 1995]
  • 1 in 4 adults have committed an act of road rage.
  • Men are 3 times more likely to commit an aggressive act than women.
  • 1 in 5 acts involved intimidating driving, 61% verbal abuse, 50% aggressive hand gestures
  • 30% of aggression is perpetuated by people in the 25-34 age group.
  • 13 out of 1000 people were physically attacked and 24 had their vehicles attacked. A follow up in 1998 found 84% believe the problem is getting worse.
  • 50% of drivers have been victims of road rage [RAC 2000]
  • 10mph is ave. traffic speed in London – 2 mph less than 1945. [Teleg Oct ‘00)
More than 1,000 people in the US die a year in road rage incidents. US academic, James Strickland, found if provoked motorists would respond by:

  • • 40% driving more aggressively
  • • 22% make angry expressions
  • • 15% mutter under breath
  • • 14% hit something in the car
  • • 5% obscene gestures
  • • 3% bump the car causing the anger
  • • Only 1 in 140 said they’d do nothing

The Sunday Times Magazine – July 16 2006

  • 45% of us regularly lose our temper at work
  • 64% of Britons working in an office have had office rage.
  • 38% of men are unhappy at work.
  • 27% of nurses have been attacked at work.
  • Up to 60% of all absences from work are caused by stress.
  • 33% of Britons are not on speaking terms with their neighbours.
  • 1 in 20 of us has had a fight with the person living next door.
  • UK airlines reported 1,486 significant or serious acts of air rage in a year, a 59% increase over the previous year.
  • The UK has the second-worst road rage in the world, after South Africa.
  • More than 80% of drivers say they have been involved in road rage incidents;
  • 25% have committed an act of road rage themselves.
  • 71% of internet users admit to having suffered net rage.
  • 50% of us have reacted to computer problems by hitting our PC, hurling parts of it around, screaming or abusing our colleagues.
  • 27% of managers in the construction industry have sought medical help for stress, anxiety or depression.
  • More than one third of the UK population is losing sleep from anxiety.
  • 1 in 7 adults have sought medical treatment for stress.
  • Depression and anxiety have overtaken physical ailments as the chief cause of long-term sickness.

Teacher Support Network Line

These stats are taken from February 2006 and show that 4% of callers to Teacher Support Line have expressed having difficulties with anger (this is 4% of the people for whom we gathered data on emotional state). The main causes of anger amongst this group were:

  • Performance and pay 10%
  • Legal issues 7% (71% of these cases were about allegations)
  • Working relationships 18% (67% of these were about problematic relationships with managers)
  • Career difficulties 8%
  • Personal problems 8%
Between February and November 2006, Teacher Support Network helped 6331 teachers in need of coaching and counselling on a number of issues. The main causes of stress for these teachers were as follows:

  • Harassment (4%) and Difficult working relationships (7%). The majority of times the difficult relationships were with managers – 36%
  • Money 6%
  • Workload 5%
  • Legal issues at work 4% (35% of these were about allegations)
  • Problems with pupils 2%
  • Performance and pay 3%

Some sobering anger related statistics:

  • 65% of office workers have experienced office rage.
  • 45% of staff regularly lose their temper at work.
  • 53% of people have been the victims of bullying at work.
  • 65% of people express anger over the phone, 26% in writing and 9% face to face.
  • In the European Union, Britain is the top road rage country
  • 80.4% of drivers claim to have involved in road rage incidents
  • 1 in 4 drivers admit to committing an act of road rage
  • There was a 400% increase in air rage between 1997 and 2000
  • Britons spend 407 hours per person per year, shopping. Over half have stormed out of a shop due to bad service and frustration.

Net Rage

  • 71% of internet users get so frustrated searching the net they suffer net rage
  • 36% of users spend over 2 hrs a wk searching the Internet for accurate information
  • 12 minutes on ave. before a searcher gets frustrated
  • 46% said uncovering the wrong information during an online search is frustrating
  • 86% feels that searching could be more efficient [WebTop Internet Research]

Phone Rage

  • 65% of people are more likely to express anger over the phone compared to 26% in writing and 9% face to face.
  • 57% admitted to losing their temper over the phone during the year [BT]
  • There were 80m phone calls every day in 1992 and 100m in 1997 = 2 per person per day. 61% felt anger over the phone was increasing. [BT]
  • 52% use the phone to carry out financial transactions (25m people)
  • 53% of consumers felt their blood pressure rose the moment they heard the words “You are being held in a queue.” [NOP]
  • People are 5 times more likely to lose tempers when dealing with businesses than 15 yrs ago [Ind Soc, 2000]


  • Aggressive personalities are more susceptible to heart attacks and clogged arteries. People who stay in the background were a third less likely to be affected by heart disease. [Edinburgh Uni Mar 01]
  • Those with a short fuse are more likely to smoke and drink and are 2.7 times more likely to have a heart attack than someone of a calmer disposition. Stress hormones could cause an increased risk of heart disease by constricting blood vessels and causing blood clots which could block the heart. [Uni of North Carolina]
  • Men who bottle up emotions until they lose their tempers in violent outbursts are twice as likely to suffer a stroke than men who have a calmer disposition. Young women who express their anger and aggression frequently have higher cholesterol levels than more placid women. [Michigan Uni]

Shopping Rage

Britons spend 18.6 billion hours a year – 407 hours per person – shopping. A fifth of this time (73 hrs each – 3bn hours), is spent queuing. Over half have walked out of a shop, so frustrated with queuing and bad service.

  • 1 in 5 people admit to aggressive behaviour when shopping. For 16 to 24 year olds this rises to 1 in 3. (10% of them have been physically hurt during the rush at sales time).
  • 50% of shoppers become angry at being unable to park.
  • 7% admit shopping has become so stressful it triggers arguments with their partners. [Atwood SB retail consultants]
  • 56% of consumers have complained about poor service or faulty goods in the past year – up from 39% in 1997. [Henley Centre Nov 00]
  • In our study, 65% said more likely to complain now, than 3 years ago
  • 75% under 35 years
  • Workers 69%
  • 70% ‘depressed’
[National Complaints Culture survey]

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