1. Aggression Replacement Training (ART) for Adolescents in a Runaway Shelter

Aggression Replacement Training (ART) for Adolescents in a Runaway Shelter

Program Goals

The Aggression Replacement Training (ART) program combines anger-control training, social skills training, and moral reasoning education that is designed to alter the behavior of chronically aggressive adolescents with antisocial behavior (ASB) problems. The goal of the program is to reduce aggression and violence among youth by providing them with opportunities to learn prosocial skills, control angry impulses, and appreciate the perspectives of others.

Target Population

The condensed ART curriculum was targeted at adolescents who were temporarily living in a short-term residential facility (a runaway shelter) and had exhibited signs of ASB. Youth in runaway shelters are typically at high risk of having been exposed to violence, and there is an association between childhood violence exposure and ASB problems seen in adolescents (Wilson, Stover, and Berkowitz 2009).

Program Theory

The program relied on repetitive learning and transfer training techniques to teach participants to control impulsiveness and anger so they could choose to use more appropriate prosocial behaviors. In addition, guided group discussion was used to correct antisocial thinking.

Program Components

The ART program is usually implemented over a period of 10 to 24 weeks. However, the program was condensed into 15-days and delivered to adolescents over a 21-day time period. The adolescents were living in a runaway shelter and showed signs of ASB problems, which included: violations of the rules of the shelter, violations of legal or social norms, violations of another person’s personal property, and aggression toward another person’s physical or emotion well-being. The condensed version of the ART program included the anger-control training and social skills training components of the regular curriculum, but did not include any of the moral reasoning education.

All adolescents living in the runaway shelter participated in one skills-training group each day, with group meetings lasting between 1 and 1½ hours. Group leaders relied on specific chapters from the treatment manuals from Goldstein and Glick (1987) to implement the condensed curriculum. The 15-day sequences of group topics included anger arousal, self-recognition of anger and the use of anger reduction, anger triggers, how to express a complaint, the use of self-instruction, how to resist group pressure, self-evaluation, consequential thinking, how to respond to the anger of others, the angry behavior cycle, how to keep out of fights, rehearsal of the gull anger-control skill set, how to deal with an accusation, empathy, and a review of all the skills taught.

Groups sizes ranged from about 7 to 10 adolescents, and the group leaders were staff of the shelter that had been trained to conduct the condensed ART curriculum.

Intervention ID

11 to 17


Study 1

Daily Rate of ASB Incidents

The interrupted time series analysis conducted by Nugent, Bruley, and Allen (1998) found a 20 percent reduction in the rate of antisocial behavior (ASB) incidents per client every week. The pretreatment daily rate of ASB was about 0.50, which translates to about one ASB incident per client every 2 days or about 3.5 incidents per client every week. Implementation of the condensed Aggression Replacement Training (ART) program was associated with a statistically significant decrease in the daily rate of ASB to about 2.8 incidents per client every week.

Number of ASB Incidents

The pretreatment average number of ASB incidents per day was about 6.4. During the treatment phase, the average daily number of ASB incidents was about 5.3, meaning the implementation of the ART program was associated with a statistically significant reduction of about 1.1 ASB incidents per day. This reduction represents a decrease in the average number of daily ASB incidents of about 17.2 percent.

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