Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Lester W. Wright, Jr.

Second Advisor

Dr. C. Richard Spates

Third Advisor

Dr. Malcolm H. Robertson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Joseph Oldz


This was a dismantling study comparing the effectiveness of the Cognitive Restructuring (CR) and the Systematic Desensitization (SD) components of Deffenbacher et al.’s (1987, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994) treatment of anger. This study utilized an inmate population in a rural county jail. Each group completed a battery of measures (State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory [Spielberger, 1996]; Anger Symptom, and Anger Situation [Hazaleus & Deffenbacher, 1986]) at baseline (5 weeks prior to treatment), pretreatment, and posttreatment. Subjects completed an Anger Log weekly and a Satisfaction measure following treatment. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV: Patient Questionnaire was completed during the baseline period to assess potential mental health issues for descriptive purposes. Results from the SCID-PQ were not used as exclusionary criteria.

Subjects were assigned to either the CR group or the SD group. Groups met for 5 weeks. Independent graduate student raters coded audio-tapes of the groups to assess adherence to the treatment protocol. Independent samples t tests were utilized to test differences between groups at baseline, pretreatment, and posttreatment and Satisfaction data. Paired samples t tests evaluated baseline to pretreatment group differences and tested treatment adherence data. Univariate ANCOVAs were utilized using pretreatment scores as the covariate to determine treatment effects. Repeated Measures ANOVA was computed to determine differences between treatment groups and from pretreatment to posttreatment.

The SD group demonstrated significantly lower scores on the Anger Situation measure from pretreatment to posttreatment and in comparison to the CR group at posttreatment for both ANCOVA and ANOVA analyses. This difference met statistical and clinical significance, suggesting that the SD group may have benefited more from treatment on this variable. The SD group also demonstrated higher scores in Anger Control in comparison to the CR group at the posttreatment assessment. The difference between Anger Control was not supported by the ANCOVA or ANOVA analyses, suggesting that the difference may not be due to treatment effect. The Repeated Measures ANOVA analysis found a significant difference from pretreatment to posttreatment for the Trait Anger Subscale and the Anger Out Subscale. Both groups reported comparable satisfaction with treatment received.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access