Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Intermittent Explosive Disorder: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial

Michael S. McCloskey*, Kurtis L. Noblett, Jerry L. Deffenbacher, Jackie K. Gollan, Emil F. Coccaro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


No randomized clinical trials have evaluated the efficacy of psychotherapy for intermittent explosive disorder (IED). In the present study, the authors tested the efficacy of 12-week group and individual cognitive-behavioral therapies (adapted from J. L. Deffenbacher & M. McKay, 2000) by comparing them with a wait-list control in a randomized clinical trial among adults with IED (N = 45). Aggression, anger, and associated symptoms were assessed at baseline, midtreatment, posttreatment, and 3-month follow-up. Group and individual cognitive-behavioral therapy tended not to differ, with each reducing aggression, anger, hostile thinking, and depressive symptoms, while improving anger control relative to wait-list participants. Posttreatment effect sizes were large. These effects were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Findings provide initial support for the use of multicomponent cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of IED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)876-886
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • aggression
  • cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • intermittent explosive disorder
  • randomized clinical trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Intermittent Explosive Disorder: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this