Evaluation of Improvement in Externalizing Behaviors and Callous-Unemotional Traits in Children with Disruptive Behavior Disorder: A 1-Year Follow Up Clinic-Based Study.
Multi-component interventions based on cognitive behavioral principles and practices have been found effective in reducing behavioral problems in children with disruptive behavior disorders (oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder). However, it is still unclear if these interventions can affect children's callous-unemotional traits, which are predictive of subsequent antisocial behavior. Furthermore, it could be important to identify empirically supported treatment protocols for specific disorders addressed by child mental health services. The present study aimed to test the following two hypotheses: first, the Coping Power (CP) treatment program is able to reduce externalizing behaviors in children with disruptive behavior disorders treated in a mental health care unit; second, the CP program can reduce children's callous unemotional traits. The sample included 98 Italian children, 33 treated with the CP program; 37 with a less focused multi-component intervention, and 28 with child psychotherapy. The results showed that the CP program was more effective than the other two treatments in reducing aggressive behaviors. Furthermore, only the CP program was associated with a decrease in children's callous unemotional traits. The CP program was also associated with lower rate of referrals to mental health services at one-year follow-up. These findings support the importance of disseminating manualized and focused intervention programs in mental health services.
Muratori, P; Milone, A; Manfredi, A; Polidori, L; Ruglioni, L; Lambruschi, F; Masi, G; Lochman, JE
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