Anger-Management Classes Are All the Rage

Despite taking anger management courses at a rehab clinic in Arizona after the 1998 offense, she has repeatedly been accused of abusing other hired help.

Her alleged inability to harness her emotions raises the question that perennially faces that industry: Does anger management work?

"While small-scale studies and anecdotal reports show the programs have helped some people cope with stress, I haven't seen any studies that show anger management programs prevent crime," said Pamela S. Hollenhorst, associate director at the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School. "Sending people to these programs as an alternative to jail does avoid additional jail crowding, so the programs work in the sense they avoid consuming scarce resources that could be used for more serious criminals."

But Novick believes the duration of the court-mandated classes is part of the problem, saying that just two days of anger management is "absurd."

"While there are still no conclusive studies to show that anger management works in the long term, we do know that a cognitive behavior approach has positive results," he said.

When it comes to determining how much anger management fits the crime, the responsibility rests with the judge.

"There are no state laws or federal laws governing anger management," Novick said. "That's why there's a discrepancy between the amount of time people should spend in a program."

So how much time should it take to let go of anger?

"It's really hard to absorb anything in two days, let alone something that should take eight to 10 weeks," Novick said. "Anger management programs are not psychotherapy, they're educational. They rely on participants learning a skill, practicing it in their lives and then returning the next week to discuss it. A good program should provide skills for stress management, empathy, assertiveness, forgiveness and better judgment. It should also address how better to manage expectations and self-talk."

Campbell Says She's Sorry

Reports from Campbell's first day in rehab suggest that she's serious about turning over a calm new leaf.

"I cannot believe I am sitting here," she told the class, according to a report in Tuesday's New York Post. "I have said it before, but this time I truly mean it. I feel sorry and I am really going to learn from my mistakes."

One 30-year-old classmate described Campbell, 36, as "So, so nice," according to the Post.

The classmate said Campbell spoke about the incident in class, telling them, "I was angry. I was angry all day really, and then it just got to be too much."

But Novick remained skeptical, saying that fame had a way of altering people's self-awareness and possibly leading to the anger management issues that many stars seem to have.

"I don't mean to generalize, but there's a certain omnipotence that occurs in those who have been treated differently for a really long time. Their flawed thinking is ingrained from early childhood. It takes years of preferential treatment to treat people poorly with no consequence. And it takes a long time to learn to behave differently."

With the jury out on whether Campbell's head-bashing days are over, one thing remains certain: These days, anger management is more than just a movie.

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