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 Published and unpublished articles that met the following criteria were included in the review: (a) experimental or quasi-experimental research designs; (b) nonpharmacologic,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.