David Boudreaux Defends Dissertation on New Measure of Attitudes Toward Anger Management

David Boudreaux successfully defended his dissertation yesterday, Refinement of the Attitudes Toward Anger Management Scale. Using a sample of college student volunteers, he confirmed the factor structure of the scale developed for his master's thesis and obtained additional evidence in support of its reliability and validity.

It is hoped that this measure will ultimately provide clinicians will a tool for assessing client perceptions of anger management. Now that we know something about how the measure works with college students, the next phase of development will likely involve data collection in non-college and clinical samples.

David recently started his predoctoral internship at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, FL. He had very positive things to say about his experience so far and recommended this site to future students interested in VA internships.

Congratulations, David!

David Boudreaux's Dissertation Defense Scheduled

After receiving approval from his committee, David Boudreaux has scheduled his dissertation defense for Monday, August 24 at Noon. We expect to have a few thesis and dissertation proposal and defense meetings in the next few months, and this will be a good one for students interested in seeing what a dissertation defense looks like to attend.

David's dissertation, Refinement of the Attitudes Toward Anger Management Scale, involves the continued development of a brief self-report measure of attitudes toward anger management he developed for his thesis. After confirming the factor structure of the measure in a new sample, David evaluated internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and construct validity. As a result, we have a much better sense for how the measure performs and where the development process should go next.

Students to Present to Interfraternity Council

Anger control difficulties are not uncommon among college students, and anger-related problems are often compounded by academic stress, alcohol use, and living in close proximity to so many people with different backgrounds, attitudes, and values.

Caitlin Clark and Daniel Deason, two doctoral students working in the lab, will present information about the anger management services available through the
Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic to the Southern Miss Interfraternity Council next week. We are happy to have the opportunity to inform fraternity presidents about the resources available on campus for helping their members learn how to manage anger more effectively and prevent anger-related problems.

David Boudreaux Proposes Dissertation

David Boudreaux successfully proposed his dissertation yesterday. His study, Refinement of the Attitudes Toward Anger Management Scale, will attempt to confirm the factor structure of a measure he developed for his thesis, the Attitudes Toward Anger Management Scale (ATAMS), and provide additional support for the reliability and validity of the measure.

The ATAMS will be under development for some time, as David collects his data and completes his analyses. Eventually, we hope to produce a psychometrically sound measure of attitudes toward anger management that can be used to inform prevention and treatment.

Students Complete Advanced Anger Management Training

After completing a round of basic anger management training last month focused on learning how to incorporate anger management techniques into individual counseling, several graduate students in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Southern Mississippi continued their training today. Today's training focused on preparing students to implement Cognitive Relaxation Coping Skills (CRCS; Deffenbacher & McKay, 2000), a brief evidence-based treatment for clinically dysfunctional anger.

CRCS is a structured multicomponent treatment in which clients learn to reduce their level of anger arousal through a variety of relaxation coping skills and cognitive restructuring. It is typically delivered in an 8-12 session package.

The students who completed today's training will have the opportunity to provide CRCS to clients in the Hattiesburg community seeking help with problem anger through the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic's anger management program.

David Boudreaux Interviewed by All the Rage

David Boudreaux
Dr. Ryan Martin, an alumnus of the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab and Chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, writes a blog focused on the science of anger and violence called All the Rage. Dr. Martin recently posted an interview he did with David Boudreaux, an advanced doctoral student working in the lab. In the interview, David describes his interest in anger and how it fits into his career plan.

David will soon propose his dissertation, a validation study of the Attitudes Toward Anger Management Scale (ATAMS; Boudreaux, Dahlen, Madson, & Bullock-Yowell, 2014). David developed the ATAMS in his master's thesis, and his dissertation should be an important step in continuing its development.

Students Complete Basic Anger Management Training

On February 21, 11 graduate students in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Southern Mississippi completed a live training designed to fulfill the basic anger management content component required for Certified Anger Management Specialist - I (CAMS-I) designation by the National Anger Management Association. The training was designed to provide students with basic information about anger and how to integrate evidence-based anger management interventions into their work with clients at the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic in Hattiesburg, MS.

Students who completed the training and go on to complete the supervision component will be eligible to apply for certification by the National Anger Management Association.

Paper on Attitudes Toward Anger Management Scale Published

The paper based on David Boudreaux's master's thesis, which was accepted for publication in May by Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, has been published. The citation is:

Boudreaux, D. J., Dahlen, E. R., Madson, M. B., & Bullock-Yowell, E. (2014). Attitudes Toward Anger Management Scale: Development and initial validation. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 47, 14-26. doi: 10.1177/0748175613497039

David plans to continue developing the Attitudes Toward Anger Management Scale for his dissertation, as additional work on the new measure is needed before it can be used in clinical and research settings. Additional information about the scale will be provided here as it becomes available.

Interview With El Observador

I was interviewed last week by a reporter with El Observador, a newspaper in Uruguay. The article, "Luis Suárez, un mordiscón en un partido y el otro lado de la ira, según expertos," addressed anger in the context of a recent incident during which Uruguayan soccer player, Luis Suárez, bit a player during a match between Liverpool and Chelsea.

The article by Daniel Ríos addressed the development of problem anger, the benefits of healthy anger, and anger management. Dr. Howard Kassinove of Hofstra University was also interviewed for the article.

Attitudes Toward Anger Management Scale Soon to be Published

Evidence-based treatments for clinically dysfunctional anger have been available for some time; however, they are often designed for highly motivated individuals who acknowledge having a problem with anger and a desire for assistance. While some individuals with anger problems are motivated, many others are ambivalent about seeking or actively participating in treatment. The importance of assessing treatment motivation is evident to clinicians who provide anger management services, and measures of treatment readiness are beginning to appear.

Attitudes toward anger management services are likely to influence one's willingness to seek professional help for dysfunctional anger and impact the nature of the working alliance. Assessing attitudes toward these services may help us identify obstacles to help seeking and better engage angry clients early in treatment.

A paper based on David Boudreaux's master's thesis describing the development of the Attitudes Toward Anger Management Scale (ATAMS), a new measure designed to assess attitudes toward seeking professional help with problem anger, was just accepted for publication in Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development. The paper describes the development and initial validation of the measure.

Additional work on the ATAMS is needed before the instrument can be recommended for use in clinical settings, but we are encouraged by the initial results and will soon begin collecting additional data.

The citation is below, and the paper is available in pre-release .pdf format by clicking on the title:

Boudreaux, D. J., Dahlen, E. R., Madson, M. B., Bullock-Yowell, E. (in press). Attitudes toward anger management scale: Development and initial validation. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development.

National Anger Management Association to Hold Fall Conference in Arizona

The National Anger Management Association has scheduled their Fall conference for October 24-25, 2013, in Tuscon, AZ. The conference will be held on the campus of the University of Arizona and is focused on those interested in treating problem anger and domestic violence. Additional information about the conference can be found here.

Poster Accepted for APA

A poster based on David Boudreaux's master's thesis, Attitudes Toward Anger Management Services, has been accepted for inclusion in the Division 17 poster session at the annual conference of the American Psychological Association in Honolulu, Hawaii. Congratulations to David! A trip to Hawaii should be a nice break from working on his dissertation.

Lab to Deliver Free Presentation on Anger and Relational Aggression

anger management
Graduate students working in the lab are sharing their knowledge as part of an ongoing series of presentations sponsored by the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic.

On February 29, 2012, Emily Prather, David Boudreaux, and Caitlin Clark will present “Understanding Anger and Relational Aggression” at 6:30 PM on the University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus.

Learn about the difference between healthy and unhealthy anger, brief strategies for managing anger effectively, and when to seek help for yourself or a loved one. The presenters will also address relational aggression, a behavior associated with bullying in which the aggressor harms the victim’s reputation, status, or feelings of belonging through social exclusion, gossip, etc.). Learn about its relation to anger and its importance in the psychological well-being of adolescents and young adults.

The presentation will be held in Room 109 of Owings-McQuagge Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Anger Management Classes

The anger management program at the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic will soon begin offering anger management classes for persons age 18 and up. We recognize that many of the people referred to the clinic for anger management services do not need individual counseling and that a brief, psychoeducational approach may be useful.

This should be a great opportunity for students working in the lab and others in our program who completed anger management training to gain experience delivering evidence-based services in a group format.

Anger Management Content Training Successful

On Friday, I held a training session for students in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Southern Mississippi interested in learning to provide evidence-based anger management services. This was the first training I had offered since completing certification with the National Anger Management Association and revising my materials to be consistent with their standards. It went well, and it looks like we've got a few who are interested in pursuing certification too.

In order for those who are interested and attended on Friday to apply for certification as an Anger Management Specialist I, they will need to complete the required supervision component. I plan to work on setting this up for the students who are enrolled in practicum first, as they may begin working with angry clients right away.

We're planning to begin offering anger management classes through the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic too, as soon as I finish writing the treatment protocol.

Anger Management Training for Counseling Psychology Students

I am in the process of finalizing training materials based on a curriculum approved by the National Anger Management Association (NAMA). I plan to hold a training for students in the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Southern Mississippi early in the Fall semester. This training is designed to satisfy the content portion of the requirements for certification by NAMA as an Anger Management Specialist I.

I hope to offer these trainings to a wider audience at some point; however, they will be limited to current students for the time being.

NAMA Certification Complete

Receiving Distinguished Diplomate status from the National Anger Management Association (NAMA) allowed me to apply for certification as an Anger Management Specialist V. Based on NAMA’s review of my application and training materials, I have just been informed that I have received this certification. This allows me to train and supervise mental health professionals interested in pursuing NAMA certification.

I think this will be good for the Lab for a few reasons. First, competence in providing anger management services is a highly marketable skill for students entering the job market. A credential, while not yet necessary to provide services in many areas, communicates a level of training that many employers will take seriously. Second, once the NAMA authorized training program is up and running, credentialing will become much more affordable to graduate students working in the Lab. And third, such a training program may help with student and client recruitment.

Dr. Dahlen Receives Distinguished Diplomate Status From NAMA

I was recently honored to receive Distinguished Diplomate membership in the National Anger Management Association (NAMA) following board review.

NAMA is a non-profit professional organization working to advance anger management services and build community among those involved in the study and treatment of anger. Their mission includes improving the quality of anger management services available to the public, supporting mental health professionals who provide these services, and facilitating research on anger. NAMA provides leadership at the national level through their certification program, specialist directory, and research support.

I look forward to working with NAMA to promote the science and practice of anger management.

How to Choose an Anger Management Program

angry man
Although the scientific study of anger has received less attention than other emotional problems (e.g., anxiety or depression), there is evidence that some anger management programs are effective in reducing unhealthy anger and improving adaptive coping skills. Unfortunately, the quality of anger management programs is variable. Some are based on solid scientific research; others have not been subjected to study and may rely on unproven or even potentially harmful methods.

Anger Management

The best anger management programs are based on a cognitive-behavioral framework. Briefly, cognitive-behavioral theories tell us that our emotional reactions are often influenced by how we interpret events, rather than the events themselves. For example, when I become angry because the car in front of me is going too slow, the anger I experience is more closely tied to my beliefs about how others should drive (i.e., as quickly as I want them to) than it is to the situation itself.

Cognitive-behavioral anger management programs tend to focus on teaching individuals how to reduce their emotional and physiological arousal, think in less anger-provoking ways, and/or express their anger in more productive ways. Such programs often emphasize the development of self-control strategies.

Tips for Selecting an Anger Management Program

When selecting an anger management program, here are some things to consider:
  • Cognitive-behavioral programs tend to have the most research support and are both brief and cost effective. Many of these programs can be completed in as few as 8-12 counseling sessions.
  • Some practitioners still use methods that have been discredited and may cause harm. Programs that involve the uncontrolled, aggressive expression of anger (e.g., punching pillows or using foam bats to strike objects) may provide short-term relief but tend to increase the likelihood of future problems, including aggressive behavior.
  • Just because some anger management programs have research support does not mean that all practitioners will use them skillfully. It is important to be comfortable with the treatment provider you select.
  • Anger management is not designed to eliminate one's angry feelings or control others' behavior. Instead, it is aimed at helping the client reduce the intensity and frequency of their angry feelings and learn to express anger in more positive ways.

Dr. Howard Kassinove Explains the Psychology of Anger

This is a great overview of the psychology of anger that is likely to be helpful for anyone wanting to gain a better understanding of how anger works and what effective anger management programs typically involve.


Healthy Anger

healthy lifestyle
Anger is a common emotion experienced by everyone. Surveys of college students and community adults show that most people feel at least mildly angry several times a week and that approximately 33% experience daily anger. Mild to moderate anger can energize individuals to address injustices, assert themselves, and solve problems. These positive effects remind us that the goal of anger management programs should not to eliminate one's experience of angry feelings. Without the ability to experience anger, one would be poorly equipped to meet many basic needs.