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

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

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  • 1The University of Chicago, Department of Psychiatry, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


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.

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