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Therapeutic changes in children, parents, and families resulting from treatment of children with conduct problems.

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Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8205, USA.



To examine changes in child, parent, and family functioning over the course of child therapy among children who completed outpatient treatment.


Children (N = 250, ages 2-14 years) referred for oppositional, aggressive, and antisocial behavior received variations of cognitive-behavioral treatments. Outcome was evaluated by changes in the children (multiple symptom domains), parents (symptoms, stress), and family (relationships, family functioning, support, marital satisfaction).


Child, parent, and family functioning improved significantly over the course of therapy. The magnitude of these changes indicated large improvements for child outcome measures and smaller improvements for parent and family outcome measures. Improvements in children, parents, and family measures were significantly and moderately correlated. Finally, the pattern of predictors varied among child, parent, and family outcomes.


The benefits of child therapy extended to parent and family functioning, even though these were not focused on directly. The broad changes have significant implications for evaluating the effectiveness of treatment and the benefits and costs of delivering services to children.

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