Current approaches to the assessment and management of anger and aggression in youth: a review

J Child Adolesc Psychiatr Nurs. 2007 Nov;20(4):209-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6171.2007.00102.x.


Background: Anger and its expression represent a major public health problem for children and adolescents today. Prevalence reports show that anger-related problems such as oppositional behavior, verbal and physical aggression, and violence are some of the more common reasons children are referred for mental health services.

Methods: An extensive review of the literature was conducted using the following online search engines: Cochrane, MEDLINE, PsychINFO, and PubMed. Published and unpublished articles that met the following criteria were included in the review: (a) experimental or quasi-experimental research designs; (b) nonpharmacologic, therapy-based interventions; and (c) study participants between 5 and 17 years of age.

Results: Cognitive-behavioral and skills-based approaches are the most widely studied and empirically validated treatments for anger and aggression in youth. Commonly used therapeutic techniques include affective education, relaxation training, cognitive restructuring, problem-solving skills, social skills training, and conflict resolution. These techniques, tailored to the individual child's and/or family's needs, can foster the development of more adaptive and prosocial behavior.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression*
  • Anger*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Family Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency / rehabilitation
  • Psychological Tests
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Social Behavior Disorders / therapy*