Anger Management in Adolescents Term Paper

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Anger Management

Anger is a common emotional response to events that are unexpected and unfriendly. However, sometimes this emotional response takes a more sustained and intense course, which is when it becomes dangerous. There is a real dearth of research material and very limited literature pertaining to anger management and this considering the fact that adolescent anger is a major indicator of adulthood violence implies the need for more research on the subject. Even the DSM does not indicate any specific diagnostic features that characterize anger as an emotional disorder. Unchecked impulses and the absence of anger management interventions are strongly identified with adolescent violent behavior. Over the last decade there has been an increasing incidence of violence in schools. Horrific incidents such as the Columbine school massacre have necessitated the identification and effective control of emotional disturbances among adolescents a high priority. Some studies on the subject of anger management have shown promising results in arresting violent behavior among adolescents. Let us now focus our attention on some research studies, which discuss the effectiveness of various anger management methods.

Efficacy of Group therapy (Intensive Short-term therapy)

Snyder et al. (1999), studied the positive effects of brief intervention in the form of group therapy on adolescent subjects exhibiting severe anger. For the study the researchers included 50 adolescent participants (28 males and 22 females) from a New York Psychiatric hospital. These subjects were carefully chosen after a screening of the inmates in the hospital and only those adolescents who scored above 75% in the anger scale of the 'State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory' (STAEI) qualified for the research. They were arbitrarily assigned either to treatment groups or to control groups. A four-session anger management-training program was provided for the adolescents in the experimental group. All the subjects were rated for their anger levels, control and aggressive behavior, under experimental or control conditions. Their anger management skills and their behavior in social settings were recorded during the pre and post treatment phase. After the 2 weeks of training in acquiring anger management skills the subjects were discharged from the hospital environment and their progress observed in social settings.

These subjects were rated for their post treatment behaviors by adults representing varied social settings such as nurses, schoolteachers and parents. This follow up stretched over a period of 4 -- 6 weeks and the results were assessed. The participants were checked on Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-Adolescent (MMPI-A) anger content scale and the scores ranged from 0 to 17. An ANOVA table was constructed using the independent variables namely the experimental and control groups and the pre and post treatment time frames, while the self reported scores of the participants formed the dependant variables in this study. Inference from the ANOVA table showed considerable effect of one of the treatment methods ([F.sub.1,48] = 14.3, p [less than] .01). While the experimental group showed a decline in scores from 9.92 to 8.04, the control group registered an increase from 9.92 to 10.64, clearly indicating the efficacy of the treatment. Further the ratings from nurses, teachers and parents were also used to construct an ANOVA. This statistical measure also indicated a clear improvement for the treatment subjects compared with the control group. So both the self-reported rating as well the rating from adults showed a marked reduction in disruptive behavior for the experimental group ([F.sub.1,48] = 4.43, p [less than] .05). It was also proved from the ratings for the experimental group that the gains from the treatment period were successfully carried on into the social settings. The results of this study indicate a positive effect of short-term intensive group therapy. [Snyder et al., (1999)]

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Sukhodolsky (2000), observed the effect of cognitive therapy based anger control intervention on fourth and fifth graders. A total of 33 subjects aged between 9 and 11 were chosen and separated into groups of 4 to 7 members each. The participants received either cognitive therapy or no treatment at all. The experimental group was provided with cognitive behavioral training to analyze the factors that trigger anger in them with strategies for controlling the emotion. All the subjects were rated on the 'Pediatric Anger Expression Scale', 'self reported inventory of anger', and 'teacher rating scale' both before and after the completion of the training program. The results of the study were encouraging. The teachers assessment scale showed that there was a significant drop in the aggressive behavior (p < .02) in the experimental group who received cognitive behavioral therapy compared to the control group. The experimental group also showed greater improvement (p < .05) based on the 'self reported anger control' data. [Sukhodolsky, (2000)]

Beck & Fernandez (meta analysis)

In this 1998 Meta-analysis the researchers chose 50 studies, which fulfilled the conditions of more than 4 subjects per study and involved CBT as one of the treatment components. In total the 50 studies in this Meta-analysis covered a total of 1640 patients. For each study the individual 'Effect sizes' were calibrated after calculating the standard deviation. The 'Effect sizes' for the individual studies were calculated based on 'Self reports of anger', 'behavioral ratings on aggression' and other dependant variables. With a SD of 0.43 the 'Effect sizes' varied from -0.32 to 1.57 and the mean 'Effect size' was .70. The outcome of the study showed that patients who received cognitive behavioral therapy had a high success rate of 67% in comparison to the control group who received other forms of treatment. This Meta analysis emphasizes the positive effect of cognitive behavioral therapy in treating anger. [Beck R & Fernandez E, (1998)]

Emotionally Disturbed Adolescents (Psychoeducation)

Kellner and Bry studied the effects of anger management programs on a group of adolescents who attended schools for the emotionally disturbed. The seven students who were chosen for the study had a history of aggressive behavior and their progress throughout the treatment was assessed by parents and teachers. All the subjects scored above 65 in the 'Conners Teachers Rating Scale' indicating severe disorderly conduct. Six of the students were male and all the students were within the age group of 14-18. The treatment period stretched over a period of 10 weeks and the subjects were introduced to the psychoeducational concepts of anger. The importance of sensing the anger triggers and the physiological symptoms were stressed in the training. The participants were also trained in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, counting etc. Each of the seven students were asked to complete an anger log which recorded the day-to-day events that triggered anger, the intensity, how they managed the emotion etc. This self-evaluation technique was designed to promote pro-social behaviors. All the students who participated in the program registered an improvement in the conduct subscale as rated by teachers (p < .03) and parents (p < .06). The usefulness of Psychoeducation training as an effective anger management tool is evident from this study. [Kellner & BRY, (1999)]

Anger Management ( Cocaine Dependent Individuals)

This study by Michael and Patrick analyzed the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy in reducing the intensity and frequency of anger episodes in subjects who are cocaine dependant. In the wake of the observation that substance abuse was invariably preceded by anger episode the study carried importance as control of anger implied an effective method of reducing substance abuse. Participants of the study received ' Cognitive-behavioral anger management' treatment alongside regular treatment for substance abuse. Using 'self reported questionaiires' the participants were rated for their levels of anger and its ill effects before, during and after the treatment periods. A total of 91 subjects, comprising of 59 men and 32 women participated in the study which extended over a 12-week period. Meichenbaum's three phase model of treatment namely 'conceptual', 'skill acquisition', and 'implementation' was followed and the subjects were…

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