Anger management for adolescents: Efficacy of a short-term cognitive-behavioral intervention

Karen Virginia Snyder, Fordham University


This study investigated the efficacy of a four-session, manualized group therapy for adolescents with poor anger control. Prior research indicated that anger management skills could be acquired through longer treatment series (e.g., 10 to 12 sessions), but this study condensed the series to a four-session package to be given within 2 weeks. To circumvent a weakness of previous research, the study evaluated generalization of treatment effects; anger management skills not only had to be acquired, they also had to be used in the adolescents' natural social interactions. Fifty participants from an adolescent psychiatric hospital unit who met two selection criteria were randomly assigned to experimental or control conditions. They received either the four-session treatment series of Anger Management Group Training, or a four-session control series of psychoeducational videotapes on various topics. Before and after each series, all participants filled out a brief questionnaire about handling angry feelings. Nursing staff and teachers also rated the participants' behavior at the post-treatment phase. In a 4- to 6-week follow-up phase, parents/guardians also rated the adolescents' behaviors in the home-community environments. The adolescents' self-report questionnaires showed that the patients who went through the structured Anger Management Group Training treatment exhibited improved management of their anger. They reported feeling significantly more able to manage their anger than did the control group participants. Likewise, the behavior ratings from nursing staff and teachers showed that the anger management treatment participants had fewer disruptive behaviors at the post-treatment phase than did the control participants. This study suggested that a brief anger management group intervention for adolescents was effective because the treatment was focused, structured, and manualized, and the generalization of skills was actively promoted. The assessment of the long-term effects of such a brief treatment series should be studied by future investigations.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Behaviorial sciences|Developmental psychology|Cognitive therapy

Recommended Citation

Snyder, Karen Virginia, "Anger management for adolescents: Efficacy of a short-term cognitive-behavioral intervention" (1999). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9923445.