CBT- anger management


Anger management

Anger management strategies involve 3 keye steps:

1. Cognitive preperation: Offenders identify situations that provoke anger so they can recognise when an agressive outburtst is likely to occur, Thought patterns that they have are also challenged and they consider the negative impact of their anger on others

2: Skill aqusitiion: Individuals learn behavioural and cognitive coping stragegies, such as relaxation, which will help them control the physiological feelings of anger and replace these emotions with acceptable, calm responses. Assertive training can help deal with the issue constructively rather than violently

3: Application and practice: individuals try out the skills in role play and actual situatuons (such as minor but genuine provocation) and are positiviely reinforced for appropriate, non-agresssive responses. These are conducted in controlled enviroments so that the offenders feel safe and untrained individuals are not at any risk of being harmed

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Evaluation of the anger management technique

D- Hormone treatments as an opposing theory, this focuses on masking the symptoms of agression shown by the individual

E- Anger management does not focus on the victime. Additional help with empathy and morals to help them understand the need of morality. Therefore this programm is not dealing with any issue of morality, only the preventing of agressive outbursts, not why you shouldnt be agressive

S- Supporting study - Hunter (1993) Reported a considerable reduction in impulsiveness and interpersonal problems within the AM programm. This supports the anger management technique as he found positive results. BUT... a critisism of this study is that it relied heavily on self report data from the agressive criminals, the criminals may show social desirability bias to try and get out of prison sooner. O- Opposing study - Law (1997) Found that only 1 individual who completed the 8 hour session showed any imporvements, but a critisim of this is that 8 hours may not be enough to significantly change a persons behaviour

S- Low physcial and phychological effects (compared to hormones) It is not a physical treatment, But it may have a physchological effect... men convicted of domestic violence may now turn to emotional violence instead of physical due to treatment

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Evaluation of the anger management technique (part

E- cost to prsions. Many criminals can get the anger management courses paid for as part of the rehabilitating treatment or of their contract, which is a very large cost to the NHS

R- Root cause of mask. Longer term solution than drug treatments as it does aim to get to the root cause of the problem and change underlying behavioural tendancies, but it does not look at why the criminal is agreesive, only how to change it. So it may be slightly masking, but not as much as drug treatments are.

T- Time consuming - e.g CALM consists of 24 2 hour sessions, over the course of 8 weeks. Which can be seen as very time consuming for both criminals and practicioners 

+ Not all types of criminals would respond to this kind of treatment. Some biological issues can cause anger, which may need to be treated biologically (e.g. head injury). Some violent offenders also are not impulsive, but meerly use agression as a way of getting what they want. So it cannot be guarenteed as a treatment for all violent offenders and would not decrease reoffending rates in this case

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Howells et. al. (2005) study into anger management

Method - All p's were male offenders whose sentances ranged from 1 month to 26 years and 4 months. The P's ranged in age from 18- 62 (mean age 28.8) and the study was carried out in australia. 

The study compared an experimental group on an anger management programm to a control group who were on the waiting list for the programm.

Both groups completed measures immedietly before and immedielty after the AM programm and then again 2 and 6 months later. 

The anger management programm consisted of 10 2 hour sessions delivered by trained facilitators based on a cognitive approach to behavioural change. 

Following measures used: 

1: Two self report measures of anger

2: Treatment readiness 

3: A questionaire measuring knowledge of dealing effectively with anger

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Howells et. al. study into anger management techni

Overall, in general there were no statistically differences between the pre and post treatment scores between the two groups.

There was a trend for improvement over time, with the treatment group showing only a slightly hgiher improvement. 

However, the criminals that did complete the treatment showed significantly greater improvement in anger knowledge than the control group.


The results demonstrate that the overal impact of AM programms are small, the changes were not large enough to be of real clinical significance.

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Howells et. al. study into anger management techni

Generalisabiliy- Low. Participants consisted of all males who had mainly been conviced of violent crimes, in australia. Therefore it cannot be generalied to females and people of difference cultures or to those that have commited crimes that may not necessarily be considered 'violent

Reliability- High. Used several standarided self- report measures and a standardised programm delivered by trained facilitators, therefore it could be replicated by other researchers to achieve similar results

Application- High. The study showed that anger management programms may only result in small improvements particularly in those who are not ready for change. This could be used to inform those designing future programms about the importance of measuring treatment readiness

Validity. High- The experiment used actual offenders attending an exsisting programm, therefore it shows P's in a natural setting so makes demand characteristics less likely. Also an experimental group was compared to a control group, therefore it was possible to measure the effect of the IV, however not all extranious variables were accoundted for that may have influenced the outcome

Ethics - The control group had a chance to experience the programm after the study so they were not deprived of treatment

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