Tantrums are a costly business

Stroppy toddlers might bear the brunt when it comes to the topic of tantrums, but according to new research, they're not the only ones slapping their fists in rage.

By Debbie Watson

Stroppy toddlers might bear the brunt when it comes to the topic of tantrums, but according to new research, they're not the only ones slapping their fists in rage.

Instead, a new report claims that it's actually adults who most urgently seem to need pacifying.

Be it in the car, at the office, or even in the comfort of our own home, we're increasingly showing ourselves up with childlike paddies that resemble that of an attention-grabbing infant.

Road-rage has long been a known curse of 21st century living, but that level of fury is equally translating itself into the world of shopping and leisure pursuits.

So, just what does this national tendency toward temper tantrums cost us?

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According to the latest survey it's a staggering bill in the region of £16 billion.

On average each person has run up a bill of £420 by lashing out in anger and breaking things, says the research.

The most common price of rage is that of replacing smashed crockery, glasses, and other household items, and repairing damage to the car.

And yet, physical damage aside, it seems us Brits are also very good at causing serious financial and employment implications because of our tempers.

The survey suggests some Britons are deliberately passed over for promotion because of their strops. It claims the estimated payment lost to a temper-prone employee is £440 for a man and £400 for a woman.

The results of the survey were analysed by psychologist Dr Donna Dawson, who used them to draw up a list of five rage personality types.

She said: "Rage is a complicated thing. More often than not it is caused by fear: fear of embarrassment, fear of loss (of someone, something, or of self-esteem), fear of injury or even fear of disappointment.

"We are taught that anger is a harmful and negative emotion but it can be useful and positive depending on how it is expressed. It is true that angry feelings are best let out than held inside our bodies and minds, but we must ensure that this anger is channelled outwards in a positive way."

She added: "It is also important to learn how to deal with rage and anger for our health's sake. Violent, prolonged or frequent bursts of anger, or anger that does not have a positive resolution release stress hormones into our bloodstream that weaken our immune systems by destroying T-lymphocytes, our 'killer' cells, and by putting extra stress on our hearts."

Which temper type are you?

ALL five personality types identified by Dr Dawson can be matched to well known characters in the TV soap EastEnders. They were listed as:

AVOIDING ANNA (Sharon Watts). Represented by 37 per cent of the population, these are the people who slam the phone down in mid-conversation or when being put on hold.

They tend to raise their voices just before hanging up or just afterwards.

Both behaviours are due to a desire to avoid expressing anger at the thing or person which has triggered it.

JUDGMENTAL JOE (Ian Beale). Represented by 31pc. Judgmental Joes are likely to confront the target of their anger indirectly rather than lash out. They usually beep the car horn at another driver or mutter to themselves while driving. This 'distance anger' is normally harmless but can have serious consequences – for instance when it spills over into serious road rage.

AFFIRMATIVE ALEX (Dr Truman) Represented by 25pc. These people often recognise they are angry but manage successfully not to lose control, and can turn problems into positive outcomes. They usually wait on the phone patiently until they get a helpful response, listen to another person's point of view, write a letter or 'chalk things up to experience'.

OUT OF CONTROL OLIVER (Phil Mitchell). Represented by 5pc. Like Phil in EastEnders, these individuals are prone to act on impulse and explode into a rage when things get too much. They might kick a wall, or their car, or shout at the top of their voice. They feel the victim of a grave injustice when things do not go their way.

RAGING RACHEL (Kat Slater). Represented by 2.4pc. These men and women are top of the rage league and have a short fuse with both people and objects. Their body language is characterised by hostile stares, jerky movements and an aggressive swing to the shoulders. Much of this posturing is defensive, based on the premise that you must 'get people before they get you'.

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