The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 34th Annual Conference, held online from September 30 to October 4, 2020. The team at the Clinical Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading nurses in psychiatry. Check back for more from APNA 2020.


Psychoeducation and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be effective in addressing problems with anger control in veterans, according to study results presented at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 34th Annual Conference, held online from September 30 to October 4, 2020.

Problems with controlling anger are common among veterans with deployment-related health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, and substance abuse. CBT is an effective intervention for anger management and mental health conditions; however, few studies have used CBT in clinical settings to treat veterans with anger control problems. The objective of this study was to determine whether CBT reduced anger and aggression in a group of veterans and to compare the efficacy of CBT with psychoeducation.

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In this study, researchers screened 118 veterans with anger control problems. A total of 83 patients were randomized to the intervention (CBT or psychoeducation); 66 patients had baseline assessments. Patients randomly assigned to CBT or psychoeducation attended therapy sessions once a week for 13 weeks: a sampling of course sessions included definition of anger and anger cues, anger control plans, conflict resolution, letting go of anger, and forgiveness,  Outcome measures of anger and aggression were assessed at baseline and again after all weekly sessions were completed.

Results found that at baseline, the Clinical Anger Scale mean score for patients was 29.76. After completing the weekly sessions, the mean anger score significantly decreased to 20.15 (P <.05), as did levels of unhealthy suppression of anger and anger expression index score (both P <.05). Researchers did not observe any significant difference in any anger assessments between the CBT and psychoeducation groups.

The study researchers concluded that both CBT and psychoeducation were effective at reducing anger and aggression in veterans, who often have a variety of physical and mental health conditions. 

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Sullivan S, Kendrick M, Thomas J, Schwartz B. Anger management training for veterans utilizing a cognitive behavioral approach: Examining efficacy in the reduction of clinical anger. Presented at: APNA 34th Annual Conference; September 30-October 4, 2020.  Poster 172.