Program

Apr 05, 2011

OVERVIEW

Social Skills Training (SST) for anger reduction addresses skill deficiencies
and dysfunctional expressional styles. The intervention aims to impact four
dimensions: 1) anger and anger expression, 2) emotional variables not directly
involving anger, 3) deviant behavior, and 4) alcohol use. In an experimental
evaluation, participants were randomly assigned to an SST intervention group, a
cognitive-relaxation coping skills (CRCS) intervention group, or a no treatment
group. Impacts were assessed directly after treatment.
Compared with the no treatment group,
adolescents in both interventions reported reduction in trait, general, and
personal-situational anger, as well as unhealthy anger expression, and one
measure of anxiety. SST did not have an impact on trait anxiety, shyness,
depression, general deviance, or school deviance, but CRCS did have impacts on
these outcomes.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:
high-anger adolescents

Social Skills Training (SST) for anger reduction addresses skill deficiencies
and dysfunctional expressional styles. In the first two program sessions,
students develop a list of major provocations and list as many ways as possible
to handle the situation angrily, then list as many ways as possible to handle it
calmly and more effectively. The first half of each subsequent session addresses
one of these provocations and identifies effective methods of addressing it. The
second half of each session is spent rehearsing appropriate behaviors through
imagination or role-play. At the end of the intervention, behavioral strategies
identified over the course of the intervention are abstracted into a hand out of
general strategies.

The intervention aims to impact four dimensions: 1) anger and anger expression,
2) emotional variables not directly involving anger, 3) deviant behavior, and 4)
alcohol use.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Deffenbaucher,
J. L., Lynch, R. S., Oetting, E. R., & Kemper, C. C. (1996). Anger reduction in
early adolescents. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 43, 149-157.

Evaluated population:
Of the 120 students participating in the
study, 52 percent were boys and 48 percent were girls. Caucasian students were
predominant, representing 78 percent of the sample. Students of Latino/Hispanic
origin represented 19 percent of the sample, and Asian American and American
Indian students represented two percent and one percent, respectively. In total,
there were 19 sixth graders, 38 seventh graders and 63 eighth graders.

Approach:
Over a period of three years, a total of 694 sixth through eighth grade students
completed baseline anger screenings. Those scoring in the upper quartile (n=178)
were recruited for participation. Of the potential students, 126 were randomly
assigned, and 120 participated in the intervention for the full three-year span.

Double-blind
pre-treatment assessment batteries, which assessed anger and anger expression,
deviant behavior, and alcohol use, were administered by counselors and teachers.
Other variables indirectly related to anger, such as depression, anxiety,
shyness, and self-esteem were also assessed.

Following
assessment, students were randomly assigned to thecognitive-relaxation
coping skills (CRCS) treatment condition, social skills training (SST) treatment
condition,or an untreated control condition. Thirty-nine students were
assigned to the CRCS condition, and 40 students were assigned to the SST
condition. The remaining 41 were assigned to the no-treatment condition. Both
treatment groups met for nine 45-minute sessions, and were led by highly
educated professionals who had experience with cognitive-behavioral intervention
techniques.

Results: On
all anger measures, both CRCS and SST intervention students differed
significantly from the control group; but they did not differ significantly from
each other. Compared with students in the untreated control group, students in
both treatment groups reported less trait and general anger, less anger in their
most angering situations, and less outward negative expression of anger, and
greater anger control. Unlike CRCS intervention students, SST intervention
students did not report significantly less general deviance, less trait anxiety,
shyness, or depression than the control group. No statistically significant
differences were found on self-esteem or alcohol consumption.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Deffenbaucher, J.
L., Lynch, R. S., Oetting, E. R., & Kemper, C. C. (1996). Anger reduction in
early adolescents. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 43, 149-157.

KEYWORDS:
Adolescents (12-17); Middle School; School-based; Social Skills; Skills
Training; Males and Females (co-ed); Mental Health; Anxiety Disorders/Symptoms;
White/Caucasian; Other Social/Emotional Health; Behavioral Problems;
Delinquency; Self-esteem; Alcohol Use

Program
information last updated 4/5/11

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