Anger | Controlled Evaluation of a Computerized Anger-reduction Treatment for Suicide Prevention

Anger research study

What is the primary objective of this study?

The purpose of this study is to determine whether a computerized intervention designed to reduce anger-provoking interpretation biases will reduce suicide risk among individuals with elevated levels of trait anger.

Who is eligible to participate?

Inclusion Criteria: - elevated levels of trait anger (scoring 19 or higher, or the top 25% of the general population) - must have access to a computer with an internet connection - must also be English speakers Exclusion Criteria: - currently receiving therapy for problematic anger - evidence of serious suicidal intent requiring hospitalization or immediate treatment - evidence of psychotic-spectrum disorders

Which medical condition, disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury is researched?


Suicidal Ideation

Study Interventions

Interventions can include giving participants drugs, medical devices, procedures, vaccines, and other products that are either investigational or already available or noninvasive approaches such as surveys, education, and interviews.

Behavioral:Anger Reduction TreatmentEight 15-minute sessions of interpretation modification to reduce angry interpretation biases.

Behavioral:Progressive Muscle RelaxationEight 15-minute sessions of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) including formulation of a plan to use PMR when angry.

Behavioral:Control ConditionEight 15-minute sessions of informative videos on healthy living.

Study Arms

Research studies and clinical trials typically have two or more research arms. An arm is a group of people who receive the same treatment in the study.

Anger Reduction TreatmentThis treatment consists of eight 15-minute sessions. Participants will read scenarios and imagine themselves in these situations: "A driver does not let you over even though you have your blinker on." Next, another will appear to provide a less ambiguous interpretation. One letter will be missing from the key word of this sentence. The sentence will read "They can't s_e you." The participant will fill in the missing letter (to form "see"). Next, this interpretation will be reinforced by requiring the participants to correctly answer "yes" or "no" to a comprehension question ("Is the driver being disrespectful?"). In each session 64 training scenarios will be presented. Participants will never see the same scenario twice over the course of the study.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Control ConditionTo control for expectancy effects, participants assigned to the control condition will complete eight computerized sessions consisting of psychoeducation on healthy behaviors. These sessions will be matched for time with the active conditions, lasting 15 minutes each. Psychoeducation will cover the topics of exercise, diet, hygiene, social support, healthy activities, and sleep, and will be taken from protocols developed from our ongoing research. This psychoeducation is perceived as credible but has no detectable impact on behavior. After the post-treatment session, participants will be provided with the active ART treatment free of charge if they wish to receive it.

Study Status


Start Date: October 2013

Completed Date: September 2016

Phase: N/A

Type: Interventional


Primary Outcome: State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2 (STAXI-2; Spielberger, 1999)

Secondary Outcome: Beck Suicide Scale (BSS; Beck et al., 1979)

Study sponsors, principal investigator, and references

Principal Investigator: Jesse R Cougle, PhD

Lead Sponsor: Florida State University


More information:

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