Objective: to evaluate the efficacy of a brief behaviour management training programme for family carers of patients with dementia and aggressive behaviour.

Design: a randomized controlled trial of a four‐session, community‐based behaviour management programme. The primary outcome measure was the Rating Scale for Aggressive Behaviour in the Elderly.

Participants: 62 patients with dementia, and their co‐resident carers.

Results: there were no significant differences in aggression scores between behaviour management and control groups at follow‐up. After adjusting for baseline differences in Rating Scale for Aggressive Behaviour in the Elderly scores, there was a trend towards a reduction in aggressive behaviour in the patients in the behaviour management group compared with those in the control group (F=3.37, P=0.071).

Conclusions: this study adds to the small evidence base for the effectiveness of behavioural management strategies in dementia.

Address correspondence to: N. Gormley, Department of Old Age Psychiatry, St Senan's Hospital, Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland