Expression through Drama Brings Anger Management Results from Prisoners

Article excerpt

Violent criminals who go on drama and theatre courses have their anger levels reduced, academics have found.

A study by psychologists at the University of Birmingham discovered prisoners who completed a nine-day drama and theatre course expressed reduced levels of anger and hostility.

Amongst the crimes committed by the 62 prisoners who took part in the study were GBH, assault with a weapon and wounding with intent.

But following their stint with a Birmingham theatre company, the lags - from six prisons - showed their tendency for anger was reduced, as was the "expression of anger internally and externally".

The drama-based course is designed to explore the processes of anger, aggression and violence.

The programme helped offenders identify, and generate strategies and skills for dealing with potentially volatile situations.

Results show intervention was associated with a significant reduction in self-reported anger, who reported feeling less angry and less likely to express anger physically or verbally.

Criminal Psychologist, Prof Anthony Beech, who led the study said: "The results show significant shifts in behaviour. They suggest a drama-based approach may be a promising adjunct to traditional anger management programmes for violent offenders.

"We studied how angry and hostile they were before they went through the programme. …