Objective: To examine whether treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reduces anger and aggression and if changes in PTSD symptoms are associated with changes in anger and aggression. Method: Active duty service members (n = 374) seeking PTSD treatment in two randomized clinical trials completed a pretreatment assessment, 12 treatment sessions, and a posttreatment assessment. Outcomes included the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale and state anger subscale of the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory. Results: Treatment groups were analyzed together. There were small to moderate pretreatment to posttreatment reductions in anger (standardized mean difference [SMD] = −0.25), psychological aggression (SMD = −0.43), and physical aggression (SMD = −0.25). The majority of participants continued to endorse anger and aggression at posttreatment. Changes in PTSD symptoms were mildly to moderately associated with changes in anger and aggression. Conclusions: PTSD treatments reduced anger and aggression with effects similar to anger and aggression treatments; innovative psychotherapies are needed.
- active military
- cognitive processing therapy
- posttraumatic stress disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)