The effects of therapeutic recreation activities on anger management

For a great many Americans, daily life constitutes an ongoing crisis of emotional survival (Garfield, 1987). Many individuals take on more than one role such as, a mother, wife, worker, and student. One may be faced with much pressure to be successful in all the roles. If one fails or has potential to fail with one or more of the roles, then one may become angry with oneself. Failure, a stressor, may be accompanied with anger (Friedland, 1984). For some individuals anger causes hurt. For instance, if an adolescent argues with his parents, he may feel guilty and hurt afterwards. In return, the hurt causes emotional damage in the long run. For example, the failure of communication between the adolescent and the parent may result in the adolescent feeling distant from the parent and diminished bonding results as the teenager grows up. As a result, the individual may become fearful, anxious, withdrawn from others, depressed, or have low self-esteem. In addition, the emotional damage may result in misdirecting aggressive behaviors, such as, screaming at another, throwing objects, suicide etc. Once these behaviors are being manifested, one has lost self-control. These behaviors are thought of as aggressive and antisocial. In order to control these antisocial behaviors, society has set up systems to intervene. Some examples of systems which shape one's behavior include legal, parents, school, and church. Each of these systems has consequences for antisocial behaviors. For instance, if one physically assaults another, then the legal system punishes the offender by placing one in jail. These systems may be effective in so far as society is concerned. However, the outbreak of antisocial behavior, for instance, gang violence, continues to be a serious problem in society. The problem is the individuals lack the skills to release anger in a prosocial manner. Therefore, there is a need for further development of additional systems to shape negative behavior which results from anger. One suggestion is therapeutic recreation activities existing within the Gunn & Peterson (1977, 1978) continuum which has potential to decrease the amount of hostile outbursts one has. No research has been conducted showing the relationship between anger management and the Gunn & Peterson (1977, 1978) continuum.