Aggression replacement training (ART) is a cognitive behavioural intervention for reduction of aggressive and violent behaviour, originally focused on adolescents. It is a multimodal program that has three components; Social skills, Anger Control Training and Moral Reasoning.

Program Goals/Target Population
Aggression Replacement Training (ART) is a cognitive–behavioral program that teaches youth to control impulsiveness and anger; to acknowledge the limitations in their current thoughts, emotions, and behaviors; and to learn new skills and coping mechanisms to promote future prosocial behavior. The program is targeted at moderate- and high-risk youth who have a history of serious aggression and antisocial behavior, assessed through a clinical instrument to examine the degree of problematic behavior.

Individual risk factors

  • Antisocial/delinquent beliefs
  • Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)
  • Few social ties (involved in social activities, popularity)
  • High alcohol/drug use
  • Illegal gun ownership/carrying
  • Lack of guilt and empathy
  • Life stressors
  • Low psychosocial maturity (low temperance, responsibility, and perspective)
  • Makes excuses for delinquent behavior (neutralization)
  • Mental health problems

Anger control training

Anger control training is the affective component of ART. This moves from the teaching of social skills, to losing anti-social skills and replacing them with pro-social skills. The anger control training uses the anger control chain. This is a process taught to the youth to deal with situations that cause them to get angry. Once again, one segment of the anger control chain is taught each week and the both the facilitators and the youth practice the new skills with relevant life activities. The anger control chain is as follows;

  • Triggers (external and internal)—The situation that starts the slide into anger and the self talk that perpetuates it
  • Cues—physical signs of becoming angry
  • Anger reducers—three (deep breathing, counting backwards, and pleasant imagery) to help reduce or take our mind off of the situation
  • Reminders—short positive statements that we say to ourselves to further reduce the angry impulses
  • Thinking ahead—Identifying the consequences of our behaviors
  • Social Skill—Implementing a pro-social skill into the situation
  • Evaluation—Looking back over the use of the anger control chain and evaluating how was implemented

Moral reasoning

Moral reasoning is the cognitive component of ART. This component provides adolescents opportunities to take other perspectives other than their own thereby learning to view their world in a more fair and equitable way. Group Facilitators also identify four thinking errors to facilitate perspective taking and remediate moral developmental delay. The thinking errors that are identified are:

Self-centered thinking—”it’s all about me”

Assuming the worst—”it would happen anyways” or “they would do it to me”

Blaming others—”it’s their fault”

Mislabeling / minimizing—”it’s not stealing, I’m only borrowing it…” or “everybody else does it”

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