ART – Aggression replacement training

Hymyilevä nainen keskellä porukkaa seisomassa


Delivery of the intervention: Group-based

 Aim of the intervention: The aim of the intervention is to increase the adolescents’ social skills, development of moral inference and aggression control. The intervention strengthens emotional regulation and anger management of children and adolescents through practicing of everyday situations.

Description of the intervention:  Aggression replacement training (ART) is a group-based intervention targeted for children and adolescents who have problems in managing aggression and emotions. ART lies on the theory of social learning (Bandura 1973), cognitive-behavioral treatment model (Novaco 1975) and the theory of moral development (Kohlberg 1973). The adolescents’ peer groups gather three times a week for ten weeks. Two education, social or health care professionals who have received the ART training, instruct the groups. In the ART-group meetings the focus is on aggression management, moral inference and social skills, and the meetings are structured. The tailored exercises are focused on practicing new skills for daily situations in adolescents’ life. A preventive FamilyTies method for the development of social skills has been developed based on the ART in the Nordic countries.

Availability of the intervention in Finland: Method and instructor training for the intervention is organized by the ART ry. in Finland. The training is targeted at education, social and healthcare professionals, who can integrate the intervention into their own working environment alongside training. Originally, Arnold P. Goldstein with his colleges in the USA, has developed the intervention. In Finland, the intervention has been used in the primary and special services of social and healthcare, but there is no exact information on the regional availability of the ART.

Research- and evidence-based efficacy of the intervention: ART has been studied internationally, for instance in a systematic review (Brännström et al. 2016), in two RCT studies (Coleman, Pfeiffer & Oakland 1992; Jones 1991) and in the Nordic countries in a Norwegian study, which included a control group (Gundersen & Svartdal 2006). Due to some methodological problems the results of the studies could not be interpreted unambiguously. There is no peer reviewed study on the ART in Finland. The intervention has some evidence of effectiveness in terms of improvement of social skills among adolescents in residential care, when compared to the control group.


  • Bandura, A. (1973). Aggression: A social learning analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Brännström L., Kaunitz K., Andershed A-K., Saud S. & Smedslund G. (2016). Aggression replacement training (ART) for reducing antisocial behavior in adolescents and young adults: A systematic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 27, 30–41.
  • Gundersen, K. & Svartdal, F. (2003). Selvrapporteringsskjema [Self-report problem behaviour questionnaire (in Norwegian)]. Nærbø, Norway: Rogaland Høgskole.
  • Coleman M., Pfeiffer S. & Oakland T. (1992). Aggression replacement training with behaviorally disordered adolescents. Behavioral Disorders, 18, 54–66.
  • Jones, Y. (1991). Aggression replacement training in a high school setting. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 1, 1–19.
  • Kohlberg, L. (1973). Collected papers on moral development and moral education. Cambridge. MA: Harvard University, Center for Moral Education.
  • Novaco, RW. (1975). Anger control: The development and evaluation of an experimental treatment. Lexington, MA: D.C. Health.