Changes in anger and aggression after treatment for PTSD in active duty military

on behalf of the STRONG STAR Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-507
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • active military
  • aggression
  • anger
  • cognitive processing therapy
  • posttraumatic stress disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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