The effects of a cognitive-behavioral anger-control intervention on the behavior of at risk middle school students

James D Larson, Marquette University


This research was undertaken to develop an anger management and problem-solving training program and evaluate its use with an at risk student population. It was hypothesized that a 10-session classroom curriculum with a strong cognitive-behavioral orientation would be superior to an attention-only control condition on outcome measures. This study was designed to yield: (1) the development of a short-term, video-assisted, student anger management and problem-solving training program which included cognitive-behavioral techniques and simple operant reinforcement procedures; (2) a comparison with an attention-only control group using the outcome measures of the Jesness Inventory (JI), the Children's Inventory of Anger (CIA), and adapted Teacher Report Form (TRF) of the Child Behavior Checklist and behavioral frequency counts. A total of 37 middle school subjects was included in the study. Statistical analysis involved the use of repeated measures ANOVAs on all dependent variables. At risk middle school students provided with a 10-session classroom curriculum emphasizing anger control and structured problem-solving showed a reduction in the number of misconduct referrals when compared to an attention-only control group. Both treatment and control groups showed significant reductions in their self-report of affective response levels to anger-provoking situations. The control group change may have been a placebo effect. Those subjects in the treatment group whose pretest scores placed them in the highest risk category for future antisocial behavior showed significant change following treatment. This study demonstrated that a short-term, cognitive-behavioral, structured problem-solving intervention helped at risk students avoid significant increases in school misconduct referrals. The study suggested that those subjects whose pre-treatment self-reported anger levels and attitudes toward antisocial behavior put them at highest risk may have been helped the most.

Recommended Citation

Larson, James D, "The effects of a cognitive-behavioral anger-control intervention on the behavior of at risk middle school students" (1990). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9107785.