Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 233–241 | Cite as

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anger Dysregulation with Military Veterans: A Pilot Study

  • John J. Donahue
  • Andrew Santanello
  • Mary C. Marsiglio
  • Lynn M. Van Male
Original Paper


Anger dysregulation is a commonly reported problem by treatment-seeking military veterans that is associated with a range of negative outcomes. However, there is a paucity of studies examining interventions for anger and aggressive behavior in this population. Theory and empirical evidence suggest Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) may be a viable and effective treatment for anger dysregulation among veterans. The present study examined the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of an open trial of an ACT group intervention for veterans reporting difficulties with anger and aggressive behavior. Twenty-three male military veterans (mean age = 54.83) initiated a 12-week ACT intervention with assessments administered at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and 6-week follow-up. Treatment completers found the intervention favorable, and participation was associated with improvements in trait physical aggression and psychological flexibility, while significant changes in anger reactivity, quality of life, and verbal aggression were not found. Results suggest group-based ACT for anger dysregulation is feasible in a male military veteran sample, and warrants further investigation.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Anger Aggression Military Veterans 



This research was supported by the Office of Academic Affiliations, Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment, Department of Veterans Affairs.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • John J. Donahue
    • 1
  • Andrew Santanello
    • 2
  • Mary C. Marsiglio
    • 3
  • Lynn M. Van Male
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Applied Behavioral SciencesUniversity of BaltimoreBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Center for Deployment PsychologyBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.VA Palo Alto Health Care SystemLivermoreUSA
  4. 4.VHA CO, Office of Patient Care Services, Occupational Health (10P4Z)WashingtonUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryOregon Health & Sciences UniversityPortlandUSA

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