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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2017 Aug;45(6):1235-1245. doi: 10.1007/s10802-016-0233-x.

Moderators of Parent Training for Disruptive Behaviors in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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Nisonger Center and Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, 371D McCampbell Hall, 1581 Dodd Dr., Columbus, OH, 43210, USA.
University of Rochester Medical Center School of Medicine and Dentistry, 601 Elmwood Ave, Box 671, Rochester, NY, 14642, USA.
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, 1225 Center Dr., Room 3130, PO Box 100165, Gainesville, FL, 32610-0165, USA.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 4909 25th Ave NE, Seattle, WA, 98105, USA.
Indiana University Riley Hospital for Children, 705 Riley Hospital Drive, Indianapolis, IN, 46202, USA.
Ohio State University, 1581 Dodd Dr., Columbus, OH, 43210, USA.
Yale Child Study Center, 230 South Frontage Road, PO Box 207900, New Haven, CT, 06520-7900, USA.
Yale Center for Analytical Sciences, 300 George Street Suite 555, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA.
Marcus Autism Center, 1920 Briarcliff Road, Atlanta, GA, 30329-4010, USA.


We conducted a 6 month, randomized trial of parent training (PT) versus a parent education program (PEP) in 180 young children (158 boys, 22 girls), ages 3-7 years, with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). PT was superior to PEP in decreasing disruptive and noncompliant behaviors. In the current study, we assess moderators of treatment response in this trial. Thirteen clinical and demographic variables were evaluated as potential moderators of three outcome variables: the Aberrant Behavior Checklist-Irritability subscale (ABC-I), Home Situations Questionnaire (HSQ), and Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement Scale (CGI-I). We used an intent-to-treat model and random effects regression. Neither IQ nor ASD severity moderated outcome on the selected outcome measures. Severity of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and anxiety moderated outcomes on the ABC-I and HSQ. For instance, there was a 6.6 point difference on the ABC-I between high and low ADHD groups (p = .05) and a 5.3 point difference between high and low Anxiety groups (p = .04). Oppositional defiant disorder symptoms and household income moderated outcomes on the HSQ. None of the baseline variables moderated outcome on the CGI-I. That IQ and ASD symptom severity did not moderate outcome suggests that PT is likely to benefit a wide range of children with ASD and disruptive behavior.


ADHD; Anxiety; Autism spectrum disorder; Moderator; Parent training

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