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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2006 Jan;47(1):99-111.

Predictors of parent training efficacy for child externalizing behavior problems--a meta-analytic review.

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Psychology Department, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.



The differential effectiveness of parent training has led researchers to examine a variety of child, parent, and familial variables that may predict treatment response. Studies have identified a diverse set of child, parent psychological/behavioral and demographic variables that are associated with treatment outcome and dropout.


The parent training literature was examined to isolate child, parent, and family variables that predict response to parent training for child externalizing behavior problems. A literature review was conducted spanning articles published from 1980 to 2004 of indicated prevention (children with symptoms) and treatment (children with diagnosis) studies. Meta-analyses were conducted to determine standardized effect sizes associated with the identified predictors.


Many of the predictors of treatment response examined in this meta-analysis resulted in moderate standardized effect sizes when study results were subjected to meta-analytic procedures (i.e., low education/occupation, more severe child behavior problems pretreatment, maternal psychopathology). Only low family income resulted in a large standardized effect size. Predictors of drop-out resulted in standardized effect sizes in the small or insubstantial range.


Response to parent training is often influenced by variables not directly involving the child, with socioeconomic status and maternal mental health being particularly salient factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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