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J Marital Fam Ther. 2003 Oct;29(4):523-45.

Childhood behavioral and emotional disorders.

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American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 112 South Alfred, St. Alexandria, Virginia 22314, USA.


We reviewed the literature on family treatment for childhood behavioral and emotional disorders and found an increase in the number of studies since 1995; however there was significant variation by disorder and therapy model. There is substantially more research on externalizing disorders (i.e., conduct disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder) then internalizing disorders, depression and anxiety disorders. The data support the conclusion that family-based interventions produce results comparable to individually oriented interventions, and in some cases family-based interventions are superior to individual treatments. To date, cognitive behavioral family therapy and parent management have been the two models studied, almost exclusively. Implications for family therapy and future research are considered.

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