Road Rage

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Final Research paper Road rage is outburst that involves shouting, gestures and at times has come to physical violence. Is there any science behind the reason for someone who is normally even tempered to suddenly become potentially violent? According to the American Psychiatric Association the answer is yes. These same psychiatrists have diagnosed this type of illness as Intermittent Explosive Disorder or ‘ED.

The catch phrase in psychology is known as emotional intelligence, which refers to our ability to attend to inner emotions, successfully regulate them, and appropriately respond to he emotions of others. Road rage is one of the illnesses that has been recognized and diagnosed under ‘ED. Is this problem we know as road rage rising in the United States, is there a typical profile that would be able to identify one as an aggressive driver and should there be a cause for alarm?

First let’s start off by saying that aggressive driving is certainly not a new concept in the United States, it’s simply has been given the new name of road rage. “Road rage officially entered the English language in the Oxford English Dictionary of New Words in 1997 being defined as “A river’s uncontrolled aggressive behavior, apparently caused by stresses of modern driving” (Fong). Road rage can take on various forms of abuse which is directed towards another driver and vary in degrees of severity, such as: verbal or physical abuse (non-contact, contact with vehicle, contact with a person), and the use of weapons.

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According to the AAA foundation, “there are many reasons that start the altercation which turned into some form of road rage: people have been physically hurt or even shot because they were driving too slow, cut someone off, played the radio too loud, tailgating or failed to use a turn signal”(AAA). These incidences are escalations from a multitude of stressor’s that have led to this eruption. In most of the case studies, there was underlying reason from a recent emotional or professional setback that the person has suffered. Dr.

Emil Coccaro, Chairman of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago Medical School stated “People think its bad behavior and that you Just need an attitude adjustment, but what they don’t know is that there’s a biology and cognitive science to this” (NBC. com). “According to his study, approximately 16 million people are affected by Intermittent Explosive Disorder” (NBC. com). “Some of the underlining signs of this disorder would be multiple outbursts, outbursts that are out of proportion to the situation and lead into threats, aggressive actions and even property damage.

Coccaro also believes that the disorder typically appears in adolescences with the average age of onset of 14″ (NBC). As we see more and more incidents of road rage broadcasted on the news, you might begin to wonder if there is a way to determine who they are and is there a typical profile of someone who would be prone to become an aggressive driver. In a report ompleted by the AAA Foundation they stated that “even though there is no one profile for an aggressive driver, the majority of perpetrators are males between 18-26 years of age.

Most are relatively young, poorly educated with some type of criminal record, history of violence, drug or alcohol problems, and many have suffered an emotional or professional setback” (AAA). There are many studies showing evidence of contributing factors that will lead up to these extreme emotional explosions. Coccaro said that “For a couple of decades, intermittent explosive disorder, or ‘ED, as been included in the manual psychiatrists use to diagnose mental illness, though with slightly different names and criteria.

That has contributed to misunderstanding and under appreciation of the disorder” (NBC). It was discovered during this study that most suffers had other emotional disorders or drug or alcohol problems. They also had received treatment of some kind for these underlying problems but only 28 percent had any type of treatment for anger (NBC). Though this is only one study, Coccaro peers agree with his finding. Dr. David Fassler, a psychiatry professor at the

University of Vermont said “This is a well-designed, large-scale, face-to-face study with interesting and useful results” (NBC), “The findings also confirm that for most people, the difficulties associated with the disorder begin during childhood or adolescence, and they often have a profound and ongoing impact on the person’s life” (NBC). Thou this study prove to be relevant in a selective point of view, the evidence can also be confirmed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). The DSM-5 is the most comprehensive, current, and ritical resource for clinical practice available to today’s mental health clinicians and researchers of all orientations. DSM-5 is used by health professionals, social workers, and forensic and legal specialists to diagnose and classify mental disorders, and is the product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health.

The criteria are concise and explicit, intended to facilitate an objective assessment of symptom presentations in a variety of clinical settings- inpatient, outpatient, partial hospital, consultation-liaison, clinical, private practice, nd primary care” (DSM-5). Within this chapter of the DSM-5 it includes a variety of disorders that involve problems in both emotional and behavioral regulation; the source of variation among the disorders is the relative emphasis on problems in the two types of self-control.

For Example, the criteria for conduct disorder focus largely on poorly controlled behaviors that violate the rights of other or that violate major societal norms. Many of the behavioral symptoms (e. g. aggression) can be a result of poorly controlled emotions such as anger. At the other extreme, the criteria for intermittent explosive isorder focus largely on such poorly controlled emotions, outbursts of anger that is disproportionate to the interpersonal or other provocation or other psychosocial stressors.

Though intermittent explosive disorder may not be a term that is a familiar to us, disorder such as antisocial personality disorder, pyromania, and kleptomania are a few that are known and accepted by society as true disorders that fall under the same diagnostic criteria (DSM-5). Though the criteria for intermittent explosive disorder (‘ED) focus largely on such poorly controlled emotion, outbursts of anger that are disproportionate to the nterpersonal or other provocation or to other psychosocial stressors. According to the DSM-5, the following is the Diagnostic Criteria that a psychologist would utilize in outbursts representing a failure to control aggressive impulses as manifested by either of the following: 1 . Verbal aggression (e. g. , temper tantrums, tirades, verbal arguments or fights) or physical aggression toward property, animals, or other individuals, occurring twice weekly, on average, for a period of 3 months. The physical aggression does not result in damage or destruction of property and does not result n physical injury to animals or other individuals. . Three behavioral outbursts involving damage or destruction of property and/or physical assault involving physical injury against animals or other individuals occurring within a 12-month period. B. The magnitude of aggressiveness expressed during the recurrent outbursts is grossly out of proportion to the provocation or to any precipitating psychosocial stressors. C. The recurrent aggressive outbursts are not premeditated (i. e. , they are impulsive and/or anger-based) and are not committed to achieve some tangible objective (e. g. , money, power, intimidation). D.

The recurrent aggressive outbursts cause either marked distress in the individual or impairment in occupational or interpersonal functioning, or are associated with financial or legal consequences. E. Chronological age is at least 6 years (or equivalent developmental level). F. The recurrent aggressive outbursts are not better explained by another mental disorder (e. g. , major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, disruptive mood, dysregulation disorder, a psychotic disorder, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder) and are not attributable to another medical ondition (e. g. head trauma, Alzheimer’s disease) or to the physiological effects of a substance (e. g. , a drug of abuse, a medication). For children ages 6-18 years, aggressive behavior that occurs as part of an adjustment disorder should not be considered for this diagnosis” (DSM-5). “Note: This diagnosis can be made in addition to the diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or autism spectrum disorder when recurrent impulsive aggressive outbursts are in excess of those usually seen in these disorders and arrant independent clinical attention” (DSM-5).

Now that we have a better understanding of the disorder that defines road rage, how it can escalate from other underlining problems and who might be prone to becoming an aggressive driver, the final questions to still consider would be: Is this a rising problem in the United States and should there be a cause for alarm? As mentioned earlier, road rage can take on various forms of abuse. In a study conducted by AAA, “approximately 44 percent of these types of violent traffic altercations, the perpetrator used a weapon such as a irearm, knife, club, or tire iron.

In 23 percent the aggressive drive used the vehicle as the weapon” (AAA). These types of attacks are higher than what you would anticipate. “The average number of lifetime attacks per person was 43, resulting in $1,359 in property damage per person” (NBC). The National Institute of Mental Health funded a study completed by Dr. Emil Coccaro. “The study was based on a national face-to-face survey of 9,282 U. S. adults who answered diagnostic questionnaires in 2001-03. About 5 percent to 7 percent of the nationally epresentative sample had had the disorder, which would equal up to 16 million Americans.

That is higher than better-known mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Coccaro said” (NBC). Not all traffic violations are reported in the statistics “there has been a rising incidence over recent years, with unverified fgures of up to 1200 road rage related deaths a year being reported in the USA” (fong). According to the AAA Figure 1 shows the percentage of fatal crashes in which each potentially-aggressive action (from the previous list) was coded for at least one nvolved driver. Overall, in 84,884 of these fatal crashes (44. %), none of the potentially-aggressive actions was reported; in 90,638 crashes (47. 3%) one such action was reported; in 15,044 crashes (7. 9%) two of these actions were reported; and in 1,045 crashes (0. 5%) three or four of these actions were reported (AAA). In total, 106,727 fatal crashes from 2003 through 2007 (55. 7%) involved at least one driver who was coded as having committed at least one potentially-aggressive action. These types of aggressive actions can affect anyone, whether you live in Ionia, Michigan, Oak Park, Chicago or Saint Albans, Vermont.

Road rage is real and seems to be occurring on a daily basis. The following three stories are small examples of road rage incidents that have happened within these three towns Just within the past four months. In the small town of Ionia, Michigan the population is only 11, 422 according to the census of 2012. This small town experienced the tragedy of the road rage that ended in gun fire on September 18, 2013. According to the WZZM13 news, “two drivers are dead after a road rage incident escalated into a shootout. The incident happened around 6:45 p. m. Wednesday on M-66 near Steele Street.

Witnesses tell WZZM 13 one driver was following another driver too closely. The first driver pulled into the Wonder Wand Car Wash parking lot and the other driver followed him into the lot. Witnesses say the driver of the following car fired shots, and the first driver returned fire. Both drivers were shot and killed. Authorities say both men had licenses to carry concealed weapons” (wzzml 3). In the streets of Oak Park, Chicago “a man blinded a motorist after punching him in the eye during road rage incident on the Near West Side, Cook County prosecutors said. After Terrell S.

Brown, 36, allegedly crashed into the other man’s car in the Oct. 20 incident in the 300 block of South Western, Brown threatened to harm him if he called police. When the 47-year-old man tried to call, Brown punched him in the left eye, prosecutors said. The injury left the victim permanently blind in that eye, prosecutors said” (Chicago. cbs). Then on September 25, 2013 the reality of road rage was brought closer to home when Matthew Webster and Ann Alger confronter each other on the roads in Saint Albans, Vermont. The incidence between these two strangers began hen Matthew ran a red light and nearly collided with Anna.

It was stated in the Burlington Free Press that “Anna had decided to follow Matthew in order to confront him” (BFP). When the cars stopped, Matthew Webster pulled out a gun, unloaded the clip and killed Anna. According to the St. Albans police, “there were a chain of events that happened before Matthew ran the red light. He and his wife had gotten into an altercation early that day. Mr. Webster has a history of previous convictions for driving-related offenses and was held without bail on Second-degree murder. If onvicted Webster could face 20 years in prison” (BFP). Our country is in trouble!

Road rage is not simply society abandoning good manners and loosing emotional control. Have you notice the increasing number of young, typically males between 26-50 years of age, drivers Joining the crowds hurtling in and out of traffic, cutting off the population is sinking fast. It does appear that “Emotional intelligence” is a new catchword in psychology that refers to the ability to attend to inner emotions, successfully regulate them, and appropriately respond to the emotions of others. In other words, “emotional intelligence” is a code word for good moral character.

Persons can develop emotional competence only by enacting freely willed choices of moral self-restraint. Because we have free will, we are morally responsible for our emotional behavior as well as for our words and deeds. Regulating emotional displays is a universal obligatory task for everyone who grows up as a civilized being. But with the staggering number of approximately 16 million people being affected by Intermittent Explosive Disorder and the illness for many is going undiagnosed since heir early adolescent years, society should be alarmed.

Personally these staggering numbers leave a nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Bibliography American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5W). Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013. AAAFoundation. org. “Road Rage” on the rise, AAA Foundation reports. report. Maryland: Mizell & Company, 1990. Article. 13 October 2013. AAAfoundation. org. Agressive Driving: Research Update. Traffic Safety. Washington: AAAfoundation. org, 2009. Burlington Free Press. Police: Woman shot, killed in road-rage incident in St.

Albans. Saint Albans, Vermont, 25 September 2013. Chicago. cbslocal. com. Prosecutors: Man Punched, Blinded Motorist In Road Rage Incident. Oak Park, Chicago, 20 October 2013. Fong, G. Frost, D. Stansfeld, S. “”Road Rage: A Psychiatric Phenomenon?. “. ” Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology (2001): 277. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Press, Associated. “NBCNews. com. ” 5 June 2006. “Road Rage” gets a medical diagnosis. 21 September 2013. Wzzm13. com. Road rage shootout leaves two drivers dead. Ionia, Michigan, 18 September 2013.