Background: This pilot study was designed to investigate the efficacy of a cognitive behavioral treatment for anger. Method: Twelve (5 men and 7 women) outpatient adults completed 2-hour group sessions for 16 sessions. Participants were diagnosed with 29 Axis I and 34 Axis II disorders with high rates of comorbidity. Empirically supported techniques of skills training, cognitive restructuring, and relaxation were utilized. In this protocol, cognitive restructuring emphasized the use of the ABC model to understand anger episodes and the Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) techniques of disputing irrational beliefs and rehearsing rational coping statements, but additional cognitive techniques were used, e.g. self-instructional training (SIT). Skills training included problem-solving and assertiveness. Relaxation training was paced respiration. Motivational interviewing, imaginal exposure with coping, and relapse prevention were also included. Results: Significant improvements were found from pre- to post-treatment on the following measures: the Trait Anger Scale of the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-II; and Anger Disorder Scale total scores; idiosyncratic anger measurements of situational intensity and symptom severity; and the Beck Depression Inventory-II; Conclusions: In order to extend the significant research findings of this pilot study, future investigations should involve larger sample sizes, populations drawn from various settings, and contact control groups.
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