Objective To evaluate the extent to which anger management training provided within a learning disabilities day service generalizes to residential settings.
Method Eleven day-service users participated in one of two anger management groups. Treatment was delivered by day-service staff and an assistant psychologist, using a standard cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) package shown to be effective in earlier studies. Evaluation was by the Provocation Index and the Profile of Anger-Coping Skills, which measure, respectively, the potential to react in an angry manner, and the utilization of eight different anger-coping skills.
Results Participants showed a decrease in anger and an increase in anger-coping skills, which was maintained at 6-month follow-up. Similar changes were reported by day-service key-workers and by residential carers (and by the participants themselves). At the level of the group, key-workers and home carers did not differ significantly, at any time, in their ratings of anger, aggregate coping skills or individual coping skills. Within each setting, profiles of coping skills differed between individuals but were relatively stable across the 6-month follow-up period. However, there was no significant correlation between the profiles of coping skills reported for individual service users in the two settings.
Conclusions The results confirm that group-based CBT is an effective treatment for people with learning disabilities and anger management problems. Therapeutic gains are maintained for at least 6 months and generalize across settings. Different anger-coping skills may be used by different people, or by the same person in different environments.
A Manual for the group is available on request.