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A Pilot Study of a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Anger Management Intervention for Children with Acquired Brain Injuries

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The objective of this pilot study was to determine the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioural group intervention for treating anger problems in children with an acquired brain injury (ABI). Seven children, aged ten to fourteen, with a history of ABI participated in the study. Measures included the Children's Inventory of Anger—Parent version; Paediatric Anger Expression Scale, Version 3; parent confidence in managing their child's anger on a ten point likert scale; and “Dylan is being teased”—a measure designed specifically for the programme. Participants completed the Exploring Feelings: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to Manage Anger programme (Attwood, 2004) a highly structured programme that included six group sessions, each of two hours duration. Parent education was provided during separate concurrent sessions. The efficacy of the programme was evaluated using a repeated measures design that utilised parent and child questionnaires administered at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and twelve weeks post-intervention. While there was no reduction in overall levels of anger post intervention, there was, however, i) a significant increase in parental confidence in their ability to manage their child's anger; ii) a significant increase in parental belief in their child's confidence that they could manage their anger; iii) a significant change in anger expression reported by parents such that children showed less outwardly expressed anger and greater control; and iv) a significant increase in the children's ability to problem solve alternative solutions in anger provoking situations. This intervention shows promise as an effective and efficient way to treat anger concerns after paediatric brain injury and further studies are required with a larger population to confirm the effectiveness of this approach.

The study abided by rigorous ethical standards as outlined by the Human Research Ethics Committee, Queensland Children's Health Services (RCH), Brisbane, Australia, and also by the Behavioural and Social Sciences Ethical Review Committee (BSSERC), University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.
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Keywords: ANGER; BRAIN INJURY; COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY; PAEDIATRIC; REHABILITATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2015-04-01

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  • The central aim of Neuro-Disability & Psychotherapy Journal is to evolve a knowledge-base on the development and adaptation of psychological therapies in response to neuro-disability. This is a project for all therapy orientations across all neurological conditions, at all points of the lifespan.
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