This study will evaluate the effectiveness of an anger management treatment program,
Juvenile Justice Anger Management for Girls, in reducing anger-related behaviors displayed
by girls in the juvenile justice system.
Girls represent a growing segment of the juvenile justice population in the United States,
with a large number of them being victims of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse.
These girls have special needs in terms of treatment and rehabilitation; however, little
research exists on effective mental health treatments for female juvenile offenders in
justice facilities. Despite the severity of anger-related behaviors displayed by girls in
the juvenile justice system, no anger management treatments have been systematically
developed to meet the unique treatment needs of delinquent girls. Treatment programs that
provide gender-specific education, counseling, and emotional support are necessary for
addressing the aggressive behaviors and psychological distress often displayed among this
population. One such treatment program, the Juvenile Justice Anger Management (JJAM) for
Girls, is an anger management program adapted from Lochman's Coping Power program, an
empirically supported school-based anger management treatment for younger children. This
study will evaluate the effectiveness of JJAM for Girls in reducing anger-related behaviors
displayed by girls in the juvenile justice system.
Participation in this study will last about 8 months. All participants will first undergo
initial assessments that will include a combination of structured interviews, self-report
measures, rating scales, and reviews of program behavioral records and incident reports.
Participants will then be assigned randomly to receive JJAM for Girls plus treatment as
usual or treatment as usual alone. Participants receiving JJAM for Girls will attend two
1.5-hour sessions per week for 8 weeks. Sessions will aim to help youth develop skills in
the following areas: identifying different types of physical and relational aggression,
recognizing early warning signs of anger, avoiding anger-provoking situations, managing
anger to prevent aggression, solving problems, communicating about anger-related events, and
repairing relationships damaged by anger-related behaviors. Participants will also complete
between-session practice activities that will include practicing skills involved in planning
personal goals. Treatment as usual for all participants will include all standard activities
in the female juvenile justice program. All participants will repeat the initial assessments
at treatment completion and Month 6 of follow-up.
- Assigned to one of the designated juvenile justice facilities
- Has the ability to speak, read, and understand English sufficiently well to complete
the procedures of the study
- Disposition to the juvenile justice program must last the 8 weeks of scheduled
treatment plus 1 week before and after treatment
- Fails to complete pretreatment assessments
- Current psychotic symptoms, mental retardation, or severe developmental disabilities
- Considered to be a ward of the state (defined as a youth without a parent, either
biological or adoptive, as the legal custodian)