Is Anger Management Effective?

Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP

Is Anger Management Effective? This anger management article was written by Brett Wallace, UNF Psychology Student and psychology intern at D’Arienzo Psychological Group in Jacksonville, Florida

While treatment effects may seem clear cut to most, with a specific treatment for a specific psychopathology. In practice such simplicity does not exist. In most cases multiple factors lend to its effectiveness or may inhibit therapy, or the psychopathology is composed of many factors that may not be able to be treated all at once. This of course impacts the ease and how simple the therapy can be. In regards to anger management, multiple different factors can come into play from different sources and combinations. This is due to stress coming from a variety of sources. Some sources originating from the clients themselves.

Some sources such as those in prison or anti-social personality disorder impact the ease of therapy. While people with antisocial personality characteristics do benefit from anger management, they seem to be more resistant to it with minor decreases in trait anger, but a decent decrease in state anger (Marshall, Martin, Warfield, Doron-Lamarca, Niles, and Taft, 2010). As a refresher, trait, simply put, is a tendency to be angry. State is a short-term. In short, the participants had an easy time reducing their anger when angry, but the ease to make them angry did not decrease much. While the changes are more gradual, people with anti-social personality characteristic do still improve overall. Individuals that receive long-term therapy do make sizable gains (Wilson, Gandolfi, Dudley, Thomas, Tapp, and Moore, 2013). While noticeable gains were reported for aggressive acts aggressive language did not seem to decrease much at all.

The overall conclusion from these studies implies that even with the most difficult of clients, anger management techniques will eventually show noticeable improvement. The only area that seems not benefit much at all is the area of aggressive language. While arguably a moot point given improvements to most other areas of anger improved noticeably in the most difficult of clients, aggressive language could easily ensure that problems persist for the client.


Marshall, A. D., Martin, K. M., Warfield, G. A., Doron-Lamarca, S., Niles B. L., & Taft, C. T.     (2010). The impact of antisocial personality characteristics on anger management           treatment for veterans with PTSD.  Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 2(3), 224-231

Wilson, C., Gandolfi, S., Dudley, A., Thomas, B., Tapp, J., & Moore, E. (2013). Evaluation of     anger management groups in a high-security hospital. Criminal Behaviour and Mental                 Health, 23, 356-371

Please contact Dr. D’Arienzo, Florida Psychologist, or one of our mental health counselors or mental health therapists if you or a loved one needs assistance with anger management. We have two online anger management courses as seen on our site and we offer in person anger management services as well. We can be reached at 904-379-8094.