Clin Psychol Psychother. 2023 Sep 12. doi: 10.1002/cpp.2907. Online ahead of print.
Studies of anger treatment have often reported on reappraisal and relaxation techniques delivered in person to forensic and psychiatric samples. The present study evaluated an integrative programme of cognitive-behavioural affective therapy (CBAT) delivered remotely to chronic pain sufferers with comorbid anger. Volunteers (N = 54) were randomly assigned to either CBAT or an Emotional Education (EE) group, both receiving hour-long videorecorded sessions twice a week for 4 weeks plus weekly calls by telephone. At 1-month post-treatment, follow-up was conducted. Outcomes were measured using the Anger Parameters Scale (APS) and its five subscales (frequency, duration, intensity, latency and threshold) as well as daily self-monitored anger logs. As hypothesized, pre- to post-treatment decline in APS total scores was significant for CBAT, Hedges’ g = 0.65, 95% CI [0.14, 1.16] but nonsignificant and small for EE, g = 0.17, CI [-0.41, 0.75]. At the primary endpoint (post-treatment), APS total scores were significantly lower for CBAT than for EE. Treatment gains were maintained till follow-up. On all five APS subscales, pre-post effect sizes were medium-sized for CBAT and generally small for EE. This picture was mirrored in the self-monitored frequency, duration and intensity of anger. Findings support the efficacy of CBAT over time, its comparative efficacy over EE and its ecological generalizability. Future research could expand sample size, reduce sample imbalance, extend follow-up and strengthen treatment potency with more sessions. The present study renews enthusiasm for teletherapy and is the first to demonstrate CBAT efficacy in treating maladaptive anger in the chronic pain population.