In last week’s blog I talked about the core assessment in our Anger Management Program, the Anger Management Map. The Anger Management Map is a research-based assessment of the core skills related to anger management. The Map assesses individuals on six scales, including Interpersonal Assertion, Empathy, Stress Management, Interpersonal Aggression (Anger), Interpersonal Deference (Fear) and Change Orientation.

The first three scales, Interpersonal Assertion, Empathy, and Stress Management, address core skills related to anger management. The last three scales, Interpersonal Aggression, Interpersonal Deference, and Change Orientation, address problematic traits related to anger management.

The Breakdown

Now let’s take a closer look, and break down each scale individually.

Interpersonal Assertion

Interpersonal Assertion is the ability to clearly and honestly communicate personal thoughts and feelings to another person in a comfortable, direct, appropriate and straightforward manner. It is the preferred style of communication, as opposed to the two problematic opposites to Interpersonal Assertion, which are Interpersonal Aggression and Interpersonal Deference.

Interpersonal Aggression

Interpersonal Aggression negatively affects relationships. It involves the anger emotion, which must be understood and changed to the anger management emotional skill.

Interpersonal Deference

On the other end of the spectrum, Interpersonal Deference results in ineffective communication, and also negatively impacts relationships.  It involves the fear emotion that must be understood and changed to the anxiety management emotional skill.

Obviously Interpersonal Assertion is the desired skill to possess. Since these three skills are highly exclusive of one another, it is unlikely an individual will score high on more than one of these three scales. Scoring high on two or more of these scales brings into question a core understanding of self and how one behaves in stressful situations. Another potential cause of two or more high scores in Assertion, Aggression or Deference could be a lack of honesty and understanding in answering the questions. While the Anger Management Map does not possess a lie factor scale, two high scores could be an indication of dishonesty in answering the questions in the assessment.


Empathy is the ability to correctly understand and respond to the expressed thoughts, feelings, behaviors and needs of others. Research has proven that in order for an individual to express anger to another individual, the attacker must suppress the empathy he or she may feel for that individual. Empathy plays a key roll in preventing anger outbursts directed at another individual.

Stress Management

Stress Management is the ability to choose and exercise healthy self-control in response to overwhelming events or circumstances. Simply stated, stress triggers anger. Learning to control one’s stress is the fundamental key to managing anger and violence.

Change Orientation

The final scale is Change Orientation.  It is arguably the most important scale in the Anger Management Map.  Change Orientation is the degree to which an individual is satisfied with his or her present level of skill in relation to the anger management assessment. Change Orientation is a reliable predictor of the potential for success through skill intervention.

Making Sense of the Results

A low Change Orientation score suggests that this individual is satisfied with  his or her present set of anger management skills. This is fine if Interpersonal Assertion, Empathy and Stress Management scores are high and Interpersonal Aggression and Deference scores are low. However, if they are not, a low Change Orientation score could mean that this individual is not open and willing to make the effort to improve these anger management skills. Conversely, a high score in Change Orientation suggests this individual is open to change in his or her life and is a good candidate for training.

Want more information on how to use our anger management and emotional intelligence assessment and skill intervention system?  Take a look at our new Conover U training website.  See