Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Aggression in Children

PI: Denis Sukhodolsky, Ph.D.

Yale Child Study Center is recruiting participants for a study of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for disruptive behavior such as anger and aggression in children and adolescents. CBT will be compared to Supportive Psychotherapy (SPT) and participants of this study will be randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to receive CBT or SPT.  Participants will be also asked to complete functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electrophysiological (EEG) tasks (recordings/images of brain activity) before and after treatment.


CBT is a behavioral intervention that consists of 12 one-hour long, weekly sessions. During CBT children are taught various skills for coping with frustration and parents are taught various strategies for managing situations that can be anger provoking for their child. We are conducting this study to explore whether reduction of behavioral problems including anger outbursts, irritability, aggression and noncompliance after CBT may be paralleled by changes in areas of the brain responsible for emotion regulation and social perception. 


•    Age between 8 and 16 years
•    have disruptive behaviors such as anger outbursts, aggression, defiance or argumentativeness
•    not taking any psychiatric medication or on a stable dose of psychiatric medication
•    be able to complete fMRI and EEG research procedures

Children who meet these and several other criteria will receive 12 weekly sessions of CBT aimed at reducing disruptive behavior and improving emotion regulation and social problem-solving skills. All children and parents who are involved in the study will be asked to fill out questionnaires and answer questions about symptoms and behaviors relevant to this project. Children will be asked to complete fMRI scans and EEG recordings before and after CBT or SPT. Children who are randomly assigned to SPT will be offered CBT after completion of all study assessments. Participants will receive FREE therapy and $400 payment for participation.


If you are interested in the study please contact:
Spencer McCauley                              
tel: (203) 737-7664                                         

Denis Sukhodolsky, Ph.D. 
tel: (203) 785-6446

Yale IRB Protocol#: 0102012121; Approved on 05/23/2013
This study is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): R01 Identifier: NCT01965184,