American Journal of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Vol. 1, No. 3, August 2015 Publish Date: Jul. 10, 2015 Pages: 97-106

Emotional Intelligence and Anger Control Among Urban Adolescents in Nigeria

John N. N. Ugoani*

College of Management and Social Sciences, Rhema University, Aba, Nigeria


The study was designed to evaluate the relationship between emotional intelligence and anger control. Hostilities prompted by anger have become rampant in Nigeria. Ethnic and faith based militant gangs led by urban adolescents have been killing people in great numbers, including the recent kidnap of 234 Chibok school girls in expression of anger to avenge for allegations of bad political leadership characterized by youth unemployment, political imbalance, poverty, lack of socio-cultural infrastructures, marginalization among others. The study hypothesizes that emotional intelligence, provides a new paradigm shift for the control of anger. Government’s programmes have not yielded the desired results with regard to controlling anger. The National Conference is another attempt to forge the sense of unity among Nigerian people and reduce the levels of hostility and insecurity. The survey research design was used for the study. 294 respondents were involved. Data were generated through structured questionnaire on a Likert-type format. These were supported by interviews so as to validate data through each other. The data were analyzed by using the statistical package for social sciences version 17. The study result showed r = .88*. With this empirical result it was found that emotional intelligence has strong positive relationship with anger control. This is a significant outcome, and in furtherance of research of emotional intelligence and anger control established a degree of relationship between the two variables. This is the crux of the study. Emotional intelligence is operationalized through behaving in most ways that foster unity and collaboration than in ways and manners that bring about anger. Previous research provides evidence that emotional intelligence is positively correlated with anger control. This time in modern history when so large a number of human beings in Nigeria have had their notions, and indeed their lives so deeply altered, and in some cases, violently upset by fanatically held social and political doctrines is very dangerous. Dangerous in the sense that when ideas are neglected by those who ought to attend to them – that is to say, those who have been elected or appointed to think critically about ideas they sometimes acquire an unchecked momentum and irresistible power over multitudes of men that may grow too angry and violent to be controlled by mere traditional logic. Studies show that a generation that has been repeatedly exposed to intense realistic violence grows up with more acceptance of aggression, less resistance to brutality, and less compassionate.


Anger Control, Bad Political Leadership, Boko Haram, Chibok, Emotional Intelligence, Iwe, Marginalization, Paradise, Traditional Logic, Youth Unemployment

1. Introduction

Since the achievement of political independence in 1960, the Nigerian nation has continued to witness hostilities resulting from anger. A major factor was the approach that was designed to reflect the diversity of Nigeria into regions and ethnic groups like the Hausa, Fulani (North), the Yoruba (West), the Igbo, Efik, Ijaw, Ibibio, Annang, Ogoni, etc (East), and the (Mid West), Bini, Itsekiri, Ika-Igbo, Urhobo, Ijaw etc This perspective ushered in agitations from the different groups-some claiming ownership of the natural resources, others claiming the right to provide political leadership and yet some significant others feel highly marginalized in their home. The situation led to the formation of various ethnic pressure groups like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Odua’s Peoples’ Congress (OPC), Biafran Zionist Movement (BZM) Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MOSSOB), Boko Haram, Itsekiri Consultative Forum (ICF) etc for the achievement of their ethnic interests. Through some provocative statements, many people particularly urban adolescents mostly unemployed become angry and go for ‘war’ among and against the different groups now perceived as enemies. Uncontrolled anger led to the civil war (CW) in 1967 after the government tried to avoid it by stating: Rule out disintegration; rule out unitarism; consider federalism with a strong centre; consider federalism with a weak centre; and if neither is acceptable, then construct an entirely new system, unique to Nigeria [1] This appeal failed and the nation went into a bloody civil war that saw hundreds of adolescents killed. Because of the regional arrangement the war was wedged against the East. In the heat of confusion and extreme uncertainty many soldiers and civilians were killed. In that situation, a military governor asked himself: "Can I still retrieve the situation? Can I still find a way to get my wife and children released? Can I gain some valuable information out of my meeting with Banjo? Or will the whole exercise end in my death? [2]. Anger is rage, passionate displeasure, enrage and trouble. [3] People with anger problems bring grief not only to themselves but also to everyone around them. For someone with anger issues even seemingly trivial matters can spark a violent outburst that brings tragic consequences. For example, a man walking with a group of friends was shot after the sports bag of one of his friends brushed against another man on a busy street. Another example, a 19-year-old male adolescent beat his fiancée’s 11-month-old baby to death. The man had been playing a violent video game and lost his temper when the baby touched the game’s control panel and this caused the man to forfeit the game.

Similar reports from around the world indicate that an increasing number of people have anger problems. For example, research shows that about 65 percent of office workers experience rage, about 45 percent lose their temper, about 33 percent of Britons are not on speaking terms with their neighbours, about 64 percent of respondents either strongly agree or agree that people in general are getting angrier, and about 32 percent say they have a close friend or family member who has trouble controlling his or her anger. Anger is part of our emotional makeup. Thus, there are times when expressing anger in a controlled fashion may be appropriate. More than 2,000 years ago, the great philosopher, Aristotle used the term "Catharsis" to describe the purging or release of emotional tension that result from viewing a tragic play or drama. The idea was that after one’s tension is expressed, a sense of psychological refreshment would emerge. Also Freud promoted a similar view that if people bottled up or repressed their negative emotions; they would later resurface as a psychological disorder, such as hysteria. However, in more recent years, researchers, who tested the "Catharsis" theory throughout the 1970’s, and 1980’s found little or no support to back it up. These findings led Tavris to write "it is time to put a bullet once and for all through the heart of the "Catharsis" hypothesis. Thus, the belief that observing violence or ventilating it gets rid of hostilities has virtually never been supported by research. Rather another research shows that "letting out all your anger in a "Carthartic" manner often leaves you feeling more uptight, not less [4] Positive emotions such as love, joy, empathy, self-consciousness, are capable of anger control.

The challenges of anger and its by products of violence, bad temper, and insecurity have a damaging effect on the fortunes of Nigeria and the personal wellbeing of the majority of helpless Nigerians. To reduce anger and violence the governments before and now have been taking steps to reduce youth unemployment as a measure of reducing violence. This has taken the shape for example of the establishment of the National Youth Service Scheme in 1973, and more recently the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) in 2011. Because of the devastating effects of anger and its byproducts many Nigerians are desirous of finding a way out of the issues of insecurity in Nigeria. In the last few months, the country has witnessed unprecedented destruction of lives and properties through mindless anger and violence of the highest proportion. The magnitude of mindless and uncontrolled anger in Nigeria in recent times cannot be over emphasized. As youth unemployment remains one of the biggest social problems in Nigeria with about 50 percent of the youth unemployed, the National Youth Service Scheme Programme was reviewed in 1993, hence the repeal of Decree No 24 and its replacement by Decree No 51 of 1993. This decree recommends that Nigerian Youths are assigned to jobs in states other than their states of origin, and work together as representatives of Nigeria as far as possible. They are encouraged to eschew religious differences and to promote the unity of Nigeria. The programmes laudable objectives are currently being undermined by various issues including the seemingly intractable insecurity situation in the country, especially in many parts of Northern Nigeria because of the activities of the Boko Haram (Western education is evil) group of religious fundamentalists. These people express their anger through violent killings of innocent people. Even corps members are now endangered species, prone to greater dangers like violent deaths through bomb blasts, mob attacks or gunmen’s onslaught and gang rape (for the female ones). For example, during the 2011 post-election violence about 11 corps members were killed. [5]For security reasons, the Nigerian Army has placed its soldiers on the alert to pre-empt any act of terrorism in Abuja as the National Conference commences. The Army placed the alert to look out for insurgents who may have planned to use the period of the conference to attack the Federal Capital Territory. Reports say that the terrorists have marked down some public buildings, headquarters of military and security agencies, offices, among other densely populated areas to attack during the National Conference. Worried by these developments, government is taking all necessary steps to ensure that insurgents do not hold the country to ransom. The government insists: "No matter how disgruntled or angry they may be, they cannot continue to kill our citizens and destroy properties at will as a way of life. It is high time wise counsel prevails among these insurgents to drop their arms and embrace peace. Nigeria is passing through very difficult times and challenges and certainly does not need these wars and destructions. We need to live and work together as free people. We need a country where all citizens have equal opportunities, where no one is oppressed or molested". Terrorists have become so bold to the extent of claiming responsibilities for attacks on people and property. For example the Biafran Zionist Movement (BZM) claims responsibility for the attack on Enugu government house. The BZM says its motive is to "reconfirm the independence of the Republic of Biafra. They insist that Nigeria must vacate Biafra by 2014, and failure to do so will result in bloodbath". Even State governors on state duties are frequently attacked by angry mobs in Nigeria. While on a visit, the governor of Benue State was way laid and attacked by an angry group killing over 20 people on the spot. It is believed that the attack was by angry Fulanis who have been in a state of "war" with the indigenous Tiv communities in Benue State of Nigeria. Some years ago a prominent politician was murdered in his home and current reports say that efforts to obtain fresh blood samples from defendants involved have collapsed. More and more people are being killed in Nigeria out of anger, rage, bitterness and frustration without any good signs of stopping such negative effects of anger. Most annoying today is the killing of school children even when they go to sleep. Reports say that over 59 students of a Federal Government College in Yobe State Nigeria were killed by the Boko Haram, while they were asleep [6] The cases of violence in Nigeria is getting out of proportion that the US fears that the Boko Haram terrorism may mar the 2015 polls in Nigeria. To this extent the House of representatives states: "when innocent, harmless, and defenseless women and children become the targets of these heartless angry bandits, when the lives of sleeping children are so callously snuffed out, it becomes clear that these agents of terror have murdered sleep and they henceforth deserve none. What ever grievances the terrorists harbor against the government of Nigeria, Nigeria’s innocent children have nothing to do with it. There can be no reason, no justification and no acceptable excuse for this act of mindless brutality" [7], [8], [9] In the heat of these hostilities, and attempts through the National Conference to ensure peace and security, some ethnic groups are engaged in angry outbursts. These are fundamental factors that raise anger and hatred that lead to violence and insecurity in Nigeria. They are threatening "war" if their opinions are not respected. Even soldiers are being killed by Boko Haram. Research shows that they are being killed almost on a daily basis in gun battle with insurgents. Reports show that over 100 people were killed in a house-to-house raid by gunmen in Katsina state of Nigeria. Killing and kidnapping are now the order of the day as a result of anger while the Joint Task Force (JTF) on terrorism has been foiling some kidnap attempts the terrorists have continued almost unabated to kidnap and kill. Reports show that gunmen kidnapped two Agip ship captains in Nembe Local Government Area, of Bayelsa State Nigeria, while a 7-year-old boy died in Kano after he was injected with chemicals by his kidnappers after they had demanded a N2m ransom. Also a former senator and frontline politician is crying out over alleged threat to his life. Anger is threatening the unity of Nigeria that there is no better time than now to conduct a study like this that seeks to find a new paradigm of anger control through the science of emotional intelligence. This is imperative because despite the various programmes of the government to reduce Youth unemployment, and probably anger among urban adolescents there has not been any study directed at anger control among urban adolescents in Nigeria. The on going National Conference is another attempt to forge peace and unity in Nigeria through the mechanism of political expediency but a fresh study of this nature seeks to raise the bar on our knowledge on the potency of emotional intelligence and anger control. As in reference [10], a former senator has declared that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable, "I believe there is hope for Nigeria. We must be positive because the good people of Nigeria are bigger than those who want to destroy Nigeria. There’s definitely hope for Nigeria and the media is central to that because they are operating under really harsh conditions yet, they are still doing their job". This statement is relevant because journalists are being killed by terrorists in Nigeria. Mindless people are killing others out of anger and using their skulls as decorations in their homes. Prominent Nigerians are now worried about how to tackle insecurity in Nigeria. [11], For purposes of security, reference [12], reports "We must change how we view ourselves, naturally, religiously, socially and politically, with a view to changing our orientation for the good of the country. For us to achieve our dream of building one united Nigeria, there must be attitudinal change and such change can only be achieved through non violence cultural revolution". The Boko Haram insurgents are believed to be miscreants and angry people. According to governors as in [13], and [14], "We can all say we know the causes of Boko Haram: poverty, negligence and poor education, but this is time for action and not words. Enough is enough, when we say this, we have to follow it up with action and that is why we are here". Boko Haram has burnt churches and mosques; they have killed Christians and Muslims. They are a group of miscreants who are bent on unleashing terror and violence on the people. We should rather unite to fight this common enemy than using religion to disunite us. Good governance is required to reduce poverty and provide education for the greatest majority of people so as to improve on security of lives and properties. Good governance seeks to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people. It is being responsive to present and future needs, being transparent and accountable, effective and equitable in the management of national wealth among other things. This leads to economic development which refers to sustained concerted actions of policy makers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area, it equally involves the quantitative and qualitative changes in the economy. These are critical to national unity and the reduction of the level of insecurity In the years past, terrorism and kidnapping were almost unknown in Nigeria. In 1984, gunmen shot and wounded the Sinn Fein President in an attack in central Belfast". He was hit in the neck, shoulder and arm as several gunmen riddled his car with about 20 bullets. Those were the types of statements that were "mere stories in Nigeria". Today kidnapping and killing have become a daily story in Nigeria [15], [16]. Youth empowerment programmes are being hoisted by government as a way out of terrorism in Nigeria. The government believes that "unemployment among our youths is one of our biggest challenges. The time has come to create jobs and lay a new foundation for Nigerian economic growth. This is with respect to the pervasive and disturbing unemployment challenges confronting the Nigerian youth. And it is in line with this that the government inaugurated the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria. (YouWin) programme in 2011 to address this distressing national problem Efforts to reduce terrorism must include meaningful research to get to the heart of the problem in addition to National dialogue. Enhancing employment windows will help in the improvement of the personal wellbeing of the people of Nigeria where over 46 percent of the people are undernourished and the personal wellbeing index declining from 44 percent in 2013 to 42 percent in 2014. Insecurity in Nigeria has been described as "the worst tragedies plaguing Nigeria". "A head of the National Dialogue, the Ijaw Peoples Movement (IPM) says that there should be "no no-go areas, every issue must be discussed at the conference". Dialogue is better than war. "Research shows that over 1000 people have been killed and more than 25000 people displaced by insurgency this year alone. Even human skulls are used as "foot ball". [17], [18]

A different attempt to expand the notion of intelligence was made by the introduction of the concept of multiple intelligences. Consequently findings have persuaded intelligence researchers to believe that we need to broaden our conception of intelligence and consider some other forms of intelligence usually not measured by intelligence quotient (IQ). For example, [19]. emphasizes the importance of successful intelligence while [20]. [21]. and [22]. emphasize the importance of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a cross-section of interrelated emotional and social competencies, skills and facilitators that determine how well we understand and express ourselves, understand others and relate with them, and cope with daily demands, challenges and pressures. They identify some emotional intelligence facilitators as self-expression, social awareness, interaction, emotional management and control, change management, self-motivation, empathy, stress tolerance, and impulse control. More precisely, impulse control is the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive or temptation to act. It entails a capacity for accepting our aggressive impulses, being composed, controlling aggression, hostility and irresponsible behaviours. Problems in impulse control involve low frustration tolerance, impulsiveness, anger, abusiveness, loss of self-control, explosive and unpredictable behaviours. Anger is part of our emotional make-up. Emotions are feelings that generally have both physiological and psychological elements that influence behaviours. Emotions can be positive or negative. Positive emotions involve love and joy, while negative emotions betray anger, sadness and fear. Thus, there are times when expressing anger in a controlled manner may be very imperative. Anger that is controlled can be expressed in a proper way and can serve a useful purpose. Anger also has a bad side. Some individuals who lack the attribute of impulse control experience anger more quickly, more often, and more intensely than others. When provoked, they get involved in verbal or physical attacks, and to a high extent their anger controls them, while it should be the other way round for emotionally intelligent individuals. Anger not controlled can be very harmful. Emotional intelligence is linked to love and spirituality. The Bible reveals that an unseen force is behind much of the harmful anger on earth today. Reference [23]. quotes Prophet Mohammed as saying "I guarantee an abode on the boundary of Paradise for him who gives up quarrel, even if he is right; and an abode in the center of Paradise for him who abandons lying, even if it is for the sake of fun; and an abode in the highest grade of Paradise for him who excels in good conduct. These words from the Holy Books support the notion that emotional intelligence is also linked to ancient wisdom. Emotional intelligence is exemplified when an individual demonstrates the attributes of trustworthiness, persistence, confidence, self-control, self-regard, introspection, among others in sufficient frequency as to be beneficial to society. The need for anger control cannot be overemphasized because according to an Igbo adage "Iwe anaghi ezi uzo oma" meaning "anger does not lead to the right path".

Early psychologists believe that positive emotions lead to the release of anger and aggression. For example, they thought that after one’s tension is released, a sense of psychological refreshment would emerge. Injustice and frustration lead to anger and emotional pain. The urge to become angry and heated up can be over powering, because when injustice is rampant and comfort is scarce, anger can easily come up in one’s heart. Even though we may not completely avoid the people or the things that act as anger triggers, but we can learn to control our reactions to them. This involves changing the way we think through positive psychological adaptations. Angry people lack impulse control, with little or no ability to delay gratification. With self-restraint, people can generally think through the potential consequences of what they are about to do and assume responsibility for their words and deeds. People who are found to be "low or very low" in "self restraint" are those often creating problems in different situations. They show little respect for others and are unwilling to listen or take advice. They use insulting words for opponents. Calming down, conscientiousness and empathy are reflective of exemplary behaviours for anger control. [24].

1.1. Previous Research

Recent study on emotional intelligence and anger control in the USA posits that anger is always a defense against deeper emotions like fear, hurt or sadness. It is a position people assume to protect themselves. However, if empathy is employed within the emotions of the angry group, their destructive actions are limited. Cooperation, affection, and soothing support, are expected to be shown to meltdown anger. The study insists that lack of emotional intelligence does not only affect anger management abilities, but it also affects the ability to recover from a breakdown. The study found that emotional intelligence helps in finding solutions to problems in situations where emotions are involved, and that problem-solving includes the ability to understand how emotions impact on decision making. Thus, emotional intelligence has been found helpful in communicating feelings, beliefs, and thoughts openly, and defending personal rights and values, in a socially acceptable, non-destructive, and non-offensive manner. Accordingly, emotional intelligence teaches that getting angry in any situation is a wrong practice therefore, lack of emotional intelligence can lead to seeing a twisted reality instead of a real one. Being emotionally intelligent helps to get over anger and also helps to avoid perception of problems which are the root cause of many psychological disorders The first scientific measure of emotional intelligence validated in the USA suggests that the concept refers to the emotional, personal, social and coping dimensions of life, that helps a great deal to identify skills in people management and leadership capability. The measure was found to be appropriate to manage anger among persons aged 16 years and older worldwide. This connects to the present study designed to evaluate the possible level of relationship between emotional intelligence and anger control among urban adolescents in Nigeria. In Nigeria where more people are poor, more people are angry, especially adolescents. Their inability to get enough to eat, to purchase clothes, an inability to continue traditions that are important to them and a feeling of defenselessness, hopelessness, fear, ignorance and humiliation, lead to violence, carnage, arson and killings on the streets. Over 234 school girls have been seized by angry fundamentalist group, the Boko Harm. The Boko Haramic phenomenon is assuming a terrorist stance and has attracted International attention. As the anger management practice continues to evolve, the present study sought in contribution, to establish the degree of relationship between emotional intelligence and anger control, because previous studies believe that the "other intelligence" that is so much more important for managing anger and avoiding negative altitudes in the 21st century and beyond is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence has many possible definitions, and one of which is the rational way of channeling emotions into correct channels instead of venting them randomly on the first victim at sight, like the seizing of schoolgirls in Nigeria understanding how to take emotionally intelligent actions provide the ability to control anger in a much better way. Between 1994 and 2010, there have been over seven Commissions of Enquiry into ethnic, religious, and other social and security problems in Nigeria. The deployment of police and military personnel, and political debates have not helped in providing the desired solutions, instead the security situation is getting worse with blood flowing on the streets on a daily basis. [25] According to previous research, emotional intelligence measures have been validated across age, gender and ethnicity, in 50 USA States, all 10 Canadian Provinces and the District of Columbia, and found most effective in anger management [26], [27], [28]. The present study hypothesizes that emotional intelligence has a positive relationship with anger control. Therefore two hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance to either confirm or reject the assumptions.

1.2. Hypotheses

H0: Emotional Intelligence has no significant relationship with anger control.

Hi: Emotional Intelligence has significant relationship with anger control.

It should be noted that the main focus of the present study was on the relationship between emotional intelligence and anger control. Therefore emotional intelligence was the independent variable while anger control was the dependent variable. The spate of insecurity in Nigeria largely promoted by anger is at the present time threatening the environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, as well as the socio-cultural sustainability of the entity called Nigeria. A way out may likely be a new paradigm shift that leads to the desired ability to effectively understand and express ourselves, to understand and relate well with others, and to successfully cope with daily demands, challenges, and anger. This will first and foremost be based on our intrapersonal ability to be aware of ourselves, to understand our strengths, and weaknesses, and to express our feelings and thoughts non-destructively and this correlates with being optimistic, positive and self-motivated.

2. Materials and Methods

The nature of the study guided the choice for an analytical methodology. Aba zone was chosen for the purpose of the study because it is densely populated and most industrialized city in the South- East zone of Nigeria. It therefore, implies that Aba zone could well serve as a very good representative of the social-cultural characteristics of Nigeria. Because of the type of study, the survey research design was adopted. The sample for the study was drawn by the probabilistic sampling design, using the simple random sampling technique because the theory of probability is the basis of all inferential statistics. The sample size was determined through the Yamane’s formula; based on the target population shown in table I. A twenty-item questionnaire containing relevant questions structured along a 5-point Likert-type scale was constructed for the generation of data. To ensure goodness of measures, the questionnaire was presented to a group of experts in the social sciences, with such critical details as purpose of the study, research design and hypotheses, for their perusal and content validation. Reliability of the data collection instrument was established through the Test-retest technique. The respondents were individuals knowledgeable enough to understand the issues under investigation. The characteristics of the respondents were shown in table 2.

2.1. Data Collection Methods

Systematic fieldwork preparation and data collection methods bolstered primary data collection and helped to shape the study approach and methodology. Accordingly, 294 copies of the questionnaire were personally administered. This approach involved personal interviews which helped in the clarification of questions, where necessary, to ensure that the respondents clearly understood the issues under investigation. All the administered questionnaire copies were retrieved thus, representing a 100 percent response rate. The mixed method approach was used so as to supplement, complement and validate data through each other, and equally provide construct validity for the data collection instrument. The responses ranging from 1-5 numeric values.

2.2. Data Analysis

Data were processed and analyzed with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The emotional intelligence factor scores with anger control variables as shown in table 3 provided the basis for Pearson’s correlation analysis and the results were shown in tables 4 and 5. The parametric nature of primary data made it possible to analyze them using statistical procedures, to test whether the hypotheses have been substantiated. The correlation result showed a significant outcome.

The correlation equation used was:

, -1 < r < 1

3. Presentation of Data

Table 1. Distribution of study population.

Areas of Study Number of Secondary Schools Population of Teachers Male Female Total Number of Teachers
Aba North 7 44 121 165
Aba South 8 50 197 247
Obingwa 18 69 110 179
Osisioma 10 56 215 271
Ugwunagbo 5 17 49 66
Ukwa East 9 41 42 83
Ukwa West 6 31 63 94
Total 63 308 (28%) 797 (72%) 1105

Source: Government of Abia State. List of Post-primary Institutions in Aba Zone 2013 [29]

Table 2. Characteristics of Respondents.

Variable Measuring group Frequency Percentage
Gender Female 180 61.22
Male 114 38.78
Total 294 100
Literacy level NCE 128 43.54
BED 109 07
Others 57 19.39
Total 294 100
Age group 18-35 134 45.58
36-51 110 37.41
Others 50 17.01
Total 294 100
Dependent Relatives None 45 15.31
1-10 children 190 64.63
Others 59 20.06
Total 294 100
Teachers by category Senior teachers 70 23.82
Head teachers 20 6.80
Asst Head teachers 60 20.41
Pivotal teachers 50 17.01
  Classroom teachers 29 9.86
  monitors 35 11.90
  Others 30 10.20
Total N = 294 100

Source: Field Work, 2014

Table 3. Emotional Intelligence (EI) factor scores with Anger control (AC) variables.

EI Variables of Interest EI factor scores (X) Anger control variables (Y)
Optimism 0.10319 7.2
Empathy -0.50102 5
Co-operation 2.18589 9.4
Humility -0.87802 4.3
Love -0.62135 4.7

Coded data of the study, 2014

3.1. Presentation of Results








Table 4. Descriptive Statistics.

  Mean S.D N Difference of means d/f
Emotional Intelligence .26 1.21 5    
Anger control 6.12 2.15 5 (P<0.05) 4

Table 5. Correlations.

Measures Emotional intelligence N Anger control d/f
    5 .88*  
  .02 5   4

* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (1-tailed).

3.2. Interpretation of Correlation Result

Pearson’s correlation coefficient was r = .88*. With this empirical result it was established that emotional intelligence has strong positive relationship with anger control. It showed a significant out come. This result is great to the extent that it supports previous research on the efficacy of emotional intelligence in challenging situations, like we have in Nigeria today. It showed that thinking in an emotionally intelligent way provides the ability for a better way of managing anger.

3.3. Discussions

The beauty of emotional intelligence is that it can be applied in different situations to be successful. For example, in marriage, emotional intelligence means listening well and being able to calm down. In the workplace, it manifests when bosses give subordinates constructive feedback regarding their performance. In school and society it means patience, conflict resolution and humility among other critical elements.

The problem of anger has come to the level where a radical approach is required for its control. The idea of controlling anger is beautifully expressed by the Bible psalmist David. He said; "let anger alone and leave rage; do not show yourself heated up only to do evil. To control anger, slow down and relax. Try to avoid saying the first thing that comes to your mind". To do these involves the emotional intelligence attributes of self-control, impulse control and patience. We can free ourselves from anger by learning to change our attitudes. By controlling our anger, we can express our feelings in a positive way, a way that leads to the benefit of all parties involved. Insight helps us to see beneath the surface, to discern why people talk or behave in certain ways. Understanding others true motives, emotions, feelings and circumstances may slow our anger and help us to make necessary allowances for mistakes. For example, it is recorded in the Bible, "The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger and it is beauty on his part to pass over transgression". To be insightful means being visionary and self-aware Controlling anger requires the understanding of interpersonal relationships factor of emotional intelligence. [30].

This factor involves the ability to establish and maintain mutually satisfying relationships and relate well with others. Mutual satisfaction describes meaningful social interactions that are potentially rewarding and enjoyable for the parties involved. Being high in interpersonal relationship skills is characterized by giving and receiving warmth and affection and conveying intimacy. This component of emotional intelligence is not only associated with the desirability of cultivating friendly relations with others, but with the ability to feel at ease and comfortable in such relationships and to possess positive expectation concerning social interaction. This social skill is based on sensitivity towards others, a desire to establish relations as well as feeling satisfied with relationships. Another emotional intelligence factor that is capable of immense help in anger control is stress management. Anger is related to anxiety and stress. Stress tolerance is defined as the ability to effectively and constructively manage emotions. In essence stress tolerance is the ability to withstand and deal with adverse events and stressful situations without getting overwhelmed by actively and positively coping with the situation. This can be achieved by choosing a course of action for coping with the event, which means being resourceful and effective, being able to come up with suitable solutions and knowing what to do and how to do it. It also involves an optimistic disposition towards new or strange experiences and change in general as well as the ability to successfully overcome the specific problem at hand. Anger control requires flexibility. This is an emotional intelligence skill that entails adjusting our feelings, thoughts, expectations and behaviours to changing situations and conditions. Flexible people are synergistic and capable of reacting to change without rigidity or getting angry. [31]. Previous research on emotional intelligence and anger control provides theoretical evidence that emotional intelligence is positively correlated with anger control. Anger control is the ability to delay impulsive actions that may lead to destructive behavious. The level of insecurity in Nigeria largely elevated by actions and inactions promoted by anger has reached an all time high that the citizens now feel as though the country is in a state of "war" with terrorism. Security reports show that these terrorist activities are carried out by ethnic and religious groups to achieve their aims of feeling happy. Despite the none-availability of accurate statistics, it is not an exaggeration to state that over 1000 innocent children, women and other citizens have been massacred in the first three months in 2014 in Nigeria by angry groups. Nobody is also taking note of the rampant issues of kidnapping, rape, arson, etc that are carried out almost on a daily basis by these nefarious groups led by militant adolescents in "expression of anger". The country is at present lamenting the kidnap of 234 Chibok school girls by Boko Haram. The security situation is very tense in Nigeria. This time in modern history when so large a number of Nigerians have had their notions, and indeed their lives, so deeply altered, and in some cases, violently upset, by fanatically held social and political doctrines, is very dangerous. Dangerous because when ideas are neglected by those who ought to attend to them – that is to say, those who have been elected or appointed to think critically about ideas they sometimes acquire an unchecked momentum and an irresistible power over multitudes of men that may grow too violent to be controlled by mere traditional logic. This study hypothesizes that emotional intelligence which is the index of openness, humility, spirituality, collaboration, among others would help more than political expediency to put the grave security situation in Nigeria being spearheaded by angry significant others and led by militant unemployed adolescents in proper check and balance. Evidence shows that in some cases these gang leaders are provoked to anger and destructive behaviours by equally irresponsible and provocative politically-minded statements by ethnic leaders aimed at achieving some narrow geopolitical or clannish interests. Some ethnic champions have just risen from a deep slumber to discuss "ownership of nautical land mass and oil wells". This is a dangerous and dichotomous issue that could escalate the problems of hostility and insecurity in Nigeria. For example there is now a controversy about who owns Nigeria in terms of nautical miles and oil wells. And MEND insists: "Any idea of disputing oil producing states ownership of their valuable natural resources can only provoke and indeed hasten Nigeria’s disintegration. And at best, MEND militants who for the past six years have allowed relative peace in their areas, would resume their violent operations suspended on access to fair share of their oil revenue. It would be peculiar against the principles of federalism to deny component states the ownership of their natural resources". Another ethnic group, the Itsekiri Consultative Forum (ICF) is lamenting their exclusion from the ongoing National Conference, while according to the ICF, the Itsekiris own 70 percent of the Nations oil wealth. The ethnic group insists: "No doubt this is another clear manifestation of the marginalization of Itsekiri people. We are the hen that lays the golden egg, yet we are still being treated shabbily like second class citizens". On the issues of nautical miles, the NDPVF states: "The intention and implication of Bugaje’s statement is that the North is planning genocide against our people the same way they are sponsoring Boko Haram. That is the import of what Bugaje has said, people might not see it, and they will say Asari is an alarmist". Statements like these are based on anger and anger does not control anger. The only opposite involves dialogue characterized by respect for each other. The ability to keep "cool" helps to put preoccupations aside and stay flexible in our own emotional responses. This trait is admired world wide even in countries that prefer agitation over calm in certain situations. Emotions represent feelings that generally have both psychological and physiological elements that influence behavior. And negative emotions such as anger can be controlled through emotional intelligence. [32] [33]

3.4. Scope for Further Research

Further research should be conducted on the relationship between emotional intelligence and friendship to see if it can help in reducing the high rate of ethnic hostility in Nigeria.

3.5. Recommendations

Anger problems bring grief to the parties involved. Imagine the killing of human beings by militants and others, out of anger. Calming down would have saved the situation.

Bosses who believe that shouting orders is the best approach to getting fast results from subordinates should think again. Because this rather provokes anger in both parties and in a situation of anxiety and hostility performance suffers.

The Holy Books have said that it would be better for man to forgo quarrel and transgression. This requires humility and not stupidity. With humility you can control anger in yourself and in others.

Anger can be expressed in a positive manner and can serve a meaningful purpose. For instance, anger can be productive if it boosts our determination to solve some pressing problems.

Anger that is controlled reduces hostility, and jealousy. For example, the ethnic hostility rampant in Nigeria is highly related to anger. Religious bodies should therefore turn to the pages of the Holy Books to drum up the need for anger control among the faithful.

4. Conclusions

The study was designed to evaluate the relationship between emotional intelligence and anger control. Even though Nigeria has been witnessing ethnic hostilities promoted by anger since the period of the civil war between 1967 and 1970 the insecurity problems have reached a crescendo in recent years. Ethnic and faith based militant gangs usually led by urban adolescents have been terrorizing and killing innocent people including women and children in great numbers, in expression of anger to avenge for allegations of bad political leadership characterized by youth unemployment, political imbalance, poverty, lack of socio-cultural infrastructures, marginalization among others. Emotions act as a link between events in the environment and our responses. Emotions can be positive or negative, like joy and anger. In a world increasingly engulfed with anger and despair the way out is to "talk the talk" and not to "fight the fight". The idea of controlling anger is expressed by the Bible Psalmist, David. He said "let anger alone and leave rage, do not show yourself heated up only to do evil". Paradise is for those who give up anger. For many reasons ranging from youth unemployment, ethnic, economic and other socio-cultural differences more and more people are becoming angry in many parts of the world. In Nigeria, for instance the frequent ethnic, religious and other destructive behaviours have been linked to people who feel marginalized, frustrated and angry. People need emotional therapy like counseling, and adjustment for necessary psychological wellbeing that facilitates positive behaviours devoid of enemity, suicide, hatred and anger. With this empirical result of the study therefore, the hypothesis which stated that emotional intelligence has no relationship with anger control was rejected, while the alternate hypothesis was accepted, to say that emotional intelligence has strong positive relationship with anger control.


No grant of any kind was received from any quarters for this research. The work is the intellectual property of the sole author.


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Dr. Ugoani is senior lecturer and Coordinator, at Rhema University, Aba. He teaches courses on business, management, production management, human resource management, psychology, industrial psychology, and industrial relations. He supervised the development of his College’s curriculum through National Universities Commission’s accreditation in 2013. John is recongized for presenting the first best PhD Dissertation in Management at the Faculty of Business Administration, Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria. He has scholarly publications with readership downloads and abstract views over 1000 and 5000 respectively and listed among Ten Top Authors by SSRN. Before entering academia, he was in First Bank as Senior Manager.

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