Age effects in parent training outcome

Thomas J. Dishion, Gerald R. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


This research examined the extent to which clinically significant improvement in parent training varied as a function of children's ages (early childhood vs. middle childhood). Seventy-three distressed families with children ranging in age from 2.5- to 12.5-years-old were observed interacting in the home at pre- and postintervention. The distressed children's levels of observed aversive behavior were compared with those of a nondistressed sample to determine the proportion within the nondistressed range following parent training. It was found that 63% of the distressed children 6-years-old and younger showed clinically significant change, compared to 54.3% of the distressed children 6-years-old and older. A repeated measures ANOVA on observed aversive behavior revealed a statistically reliable pre- and posttreatment improvement (phase), and a general effect for the age of the child. The phase-by-age of the child interaction was found to be nonsignificant. Examination of families who failed to complete parent training, however, revealed a high representation of older children (6.5- to 12.5-years-old) compared to younger children (2.5- to 6.5-years-old). In general, these data were consistent with the null hypothesis that parent training is effective for both younger and older children, but "drop out" from treatment is more likely among families with older children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-729
Number of pages11
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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