An evaluation of a short cognitive-behavioural anger management intervention for pupils at risk of exclusion

Neil Humphrey, A. George Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An increasing number of children and young people are being excluded from school as a direct result of anger management problems. The research literature suggests that short cognitive-behavioural intervention programmes may be effective in helping young people understand and control their anger. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a short cognitive-behavioural anger management intervention in reducing problem behaviours in school, and to identify factors that may facilitate or impede participant progress on such a programme. The sample comprised 12 young people (mean age 14y 2m) referred for anger problems in an inner-city school in the north-west of England. A phase change (baseline, intervention, follow-up) design was implemented to measure changes in problem behaviours using the Revised Rutter Scale for Teachers. This was augmented by qualitative data gathered in interviews and non-participant observations. Significant improvements in behaviour were observed as a result of the intervention, although for some domains this was not maintained at four-week follow-up. Analysis of qualitative data revealed a number of issues that might impact on the success of an intervention, including notions of power in the classroom, treatment readiness, and the importance of sharing thoughts, feelings and experiences with others. Despite limitations inherent in the research design, the intervention was deemed a success. However, our findings show the need for researchers and practitioners alike to 'look beyond the child' when hypothesising about the causes of anger problems in educational contexts. © 2006 SEBDA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-23
Number of pages18
JournalEmotional and Behavioural Difficulties
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Adolescence
  • Anger management
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy


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