Angry Children at Risk for Heart Disease
Helping Angry Children Become Flexible Is as Important as Diet, Exercise for Preventing Heart Disease
WebMD News Archive
Hostility, anger, and aggressiveness are complicated reactions
with many roots, says John Sargent, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist at
Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He agreed to discuss the findings with
Predatory aggressiveness is one thing: "I want that, and
I'm going to take it from you." Reactive aggressiveness is another:
"I'm a threatened soul in the universe, watching out for whoever's doing
stuff to me, and I'm going to get 'em."
Temperament can predispose some children to anger and
hostility, he explains. That behavioral style is largely genetic, yet is
affected by environment, he says.
You won't likely see the placid, adaptable kids lash out,
Sargent explains. But push a shy child into a new environment, and they might
act hostile if they're having trouble adapting, he says.
Also, a "difficult child" is the misfit, the kid who
always has some difficulty interacting with the world. "When kids like that
grow up among people who don't know how to deal with them effectively, they
become more hostile," he explains.
Depressed children -- and children who have witnessed trauma --
can also act with hostility, he tells WebMD. "Kids with a chip on their
shoulder, who react intensely to slights or disappointments, can be seen by
peers parents teachers as being negative. Sometimes depression and
[posttraumatic stress disorder] coincide. Sometimes depression is a response to
trauma or adversity."
Bottom line, he says: Helping angry children will improve the
quality of their lives, helping them have more friends and a better self-image.
Such positive influences may help children take better care of themselves,
offsetting the risk for heart disease.