NEWS

Demystifying the Multidimensional Anger Test, TikTok's Latest Mental Health Trend

teen girl looking at her smartphone

Isabel Pavia / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • Countless TikTok users are sharing their results after taking the multidimensional anger test.
  • The test is based on credible research around the various dimensions of anger and reactivity.
  • While it's a good tool to better understand yourself and your emotions, it shouldn't be used diagnostically.

There's a lot to be angry about right now. And social media has certainly become a place where people try to share or process that anger. But a new trend on TikTok has people trying to understand their anger, as well, as countless users are sharing their results after taking the multidimensional anger test.

The test is based in part on research conducted by psychologist Judith Siegel, whose work around trauma and reactivity is highly respected in the fields of psychology, counseling and social work, says Allison Kent, LSW, a licensed social worker based in Pittsburgh.

In 1986, Siegel developed the multidimensional anger inventory (MAI), which assesses several dimensions of anger including frequency, duration, magnitude, mode of expression, hostile outlook and range of anger-eliciting situations. The original test was developed in the interest of helping researchers better understand the connection between anger and coronary disease.

While the test that's trending on social media was not created directly by Siegel—the website even says "The IDR-MAT© is not the equivalent of, or to be confused with, the MAI"—her research, among others', is its main influence.

The level of accessibility and ease of taking the test can partially explain its popularity. It's made up of 38 statements, like "I often feel angrier than I think I should" and "I often hide my anger from others and feel bad about it afterwards," to which you're asked to agree or disagree using a five-point scale.

Once you've finished the test, you get your results regarding various facets of anger compared to the population average, and you receive a percentage for how much more susceptible you are to anger than the average person.

While gauging your predisposition and susceptibility to anger can be a fun experiment, Paul Poulakos, DO, a board-certified psychiatrist based in New York City, advises against using the test diagnostically.

"If one is compelled to take the test for fun because they think they may be quick to anger or are merely curious how they may score, they should discuss their results with their doctor before making any conclusions," Poulakos says.

The Test as a Starting Point

The multidimensional anger test is great for measuring anger response, emotional liability and reactivity, and Kent notes that it can actually help people connect to their feelings through validation. But she also points out that an accurate analysis requires a level of emotional self-awareness in the respondent.

Allison Kent, LSW

The concern is that these tests are largely based on self-report, so if a person struggles to reflect on their own behavior, or is in denial about their behavior, the test results might not be as accurate.

— Allison Kent, LSW

"The concern is that these tests are largely based on self-report, so if a person struggles to reflect on their own behavior, or is in denial about their behavior, the test results might not be as accurate," Kent says.

It's also important to note that a test that's based on research like this one may only reflect results relating to the original research sample or target population, Kent says. So, there's potential for bias.

"If a woman expresses anger, society often views them as being emotionally volatile or hysterical," Kent says. "If a man expresses anger, it is often regarded as acceptable or understandable... This could also apply to different cultures. What some cultures might consider normal expressions of frustration, other cultures might regard as offensive or angry."

As more and more people take the test and share their results on TikTok, it's important to keep in mind that just because social media is filled with countless videos and posts about various psychological topics, it is not always a reliable source.

"Although it is great that as a society we are more open to discussing mental health, we should be cautious in how we are getting our information and whether or not the information is being delivered by one that is qualified to do so," Poulakos says.

And while tests and surveys like these are a good starting point for better understanding how we handle emotions like anger, they shouldn't be considered a replacement for seeking help from a licensed mental health professional. Kent recommends even discussing the results with a professional who can help you develop your insight into your own behavior.

"Take the test, but don't take it too seriously," Kent says. "If the results cause you to have any feelings of discomfort, consider reaching out to your support system or seeking the support of a licensed mental health professional... As a social worker, I love working with clients who come into session and tell me about their own research, even using quizzes such as these."

What This Means For You

If you're curious about your own susceptibility to anger, the multidimensional anger test can be a helpful tool for your own understanding. But it shouldn't replace the input from a mental health professional if you have serious concerns.

Was this page helpful?
2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Siegel J. The Multidimensional Anger InventoryJ Pers Soc Psychol. 1986;51(1):191-200. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.51.1.191

  2. IDR Labs. Multidimensional Anger Test. 2022.