Cognitive-behavioral therapy for intermittent explosive disorder: a pilot randomized clinical trial

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008 Oct;76(5):876-86. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.76.5.876.


No randomized clinical trials have evaluated the efficacy of psychotherapy for intermittent explosive disorder (IED). In the present study, the authors tested the efficacy of 12-week group and individual cognitive-behavioral therapies (adapted from J. L. Deffenbacher & M. McKay, 2000) by comparing them with a wait-list control in a randomized clinical trial among adults with IED (N = 45). Aggression, anger, and associated symptoms were assessed at baseline, midtreatment, posttreatment, and 3-month follow-up. Group and individual cognitive-behavioral therapy tended not to differ, with each reducing aggression, anger, hostile thinking, and depressive symptoms, while improving anger control relative to wait-list participants. Posttreatment effect sizes were large. These effects were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Findings provide initial support for the use of multicomponent cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of IED.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Anger
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / diagnosis
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / psychology
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Relaxation Therapy