The Anger Treatment Program: An Intervention for Adults with Mental Retardation

Period of Performance: 01/22/2007 - 07/21/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Iris Media, Inc.
Eugene, OR 97401
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The role of challenging behaviors, primarily anger and aggression, in the lives of people with mental retardation (MR) poses a threat to their well-being and to their successful integration in community settings. The prevalence of anger among individuals with MR is remarkably higher than among the general population, and low tolerance of these behaviors negatively impacts educational, residential, and vocational placements. Given the high incidence of anger problems among individuals with MR and its negative effect on their own lives and the lives of those who support them, it is imperative that we address the situation. The overall goal of this project is to develop and assess a research-based treatment protocol that gives support providers a set of interactive multimedia (IMM) tools to facilitate work with individuals who have MR in the area of anger management. The treatment protocol will be based on Novaco's stress inoculation approach to anger management. The Phase I goals are to develop materials and protocols for the first four sessions, comprising the preparatory phase of the Anger Treatment Program (ATP). A feasibility study will evaluate the utility, effectiveness and consumer acceptance of the program with a sample of 25 dyads including individuals with mild MR identified as having anger management problems, and support providers in residences of these individuals. Positive outcomes in Phase I will demonstrate sufficient feasibility in support of a Phase II application. In Phase II, the 12-session treatment phase of the ATP will be developed. The resulting comprehensive IMM instructional program will provide support providers with the necessary knowledge and skills to implement an evidence-based anger management approach to meet the needs of people with MR. This project will be the first to implement the stress-inoculation anger management approach to individuals with MR who have significant but not chronic and pervasive anger problems in community settings, and to utilize support providers to deliver the intervention. The project addresses the problem of aggression and anger in people with MR, a significant public health concern. An anger management program for individuals who have MR could reduce the adverse psychological and physical health consequences that result from their anger problems and lead to a reduction in stress and burnout among support providers.