Parenting-based therapy helps curb disruptive behavior

Disruptive behavior disorders are characterized by a range of symptoms including aggression, defiance, rule-breaking and acting out.

Amy Wallace
New study finds parenting-based therapy is most effective for children with disruptive behavior disorders. Photo by Greyerbaby/PixaBay
New study finds parenting-based therapy is most effective for children with disruptive behavior disorders. Photo by Greyerbaby/PixaBay

May 2 (UPI) -- A new study shows that therapy involving parents is more effective in the treatment of children with disruptive behavior disorders, or DBDs, than other treatments.

Parent-based therapy had the best results compared to 20 other therapeutic approaches in treating DBDs in children.


DBDs are a range of disorders that lead to aggression, acting out, defiance and rule-breaking in children. These disorders can lead to serious negative outcomes in later life such as incarceration, co-morbid mental disorders and premature death. For example, 40 percent of children with diagnosed conduct disorder, a type of DBD, go on to have antisocial personality disorders.

"Parents seeking help for their children with disruptive behavior problems can play an active role in their children's treatment," Jennifer Kaminski, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a press release. "These therapies can provide parents the tools to serve as their child's best advocate and guide their child's behavior during their everyday interactions. Given the range of therapies in practice, this update provides information about the most effective approaches to ensure families are receiving evidence-based care."

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Researchers reviewed 64 studies analyzing 26 forms of treatment over a 20-year period and found two methods that they cited as "well-established" for evidence-based success: group therapy focused on parent behavior and individual parent behavior therapy with child participation.


Thirteen treatment options were considered probably efficacious including family problem-solving training and individual parent behavior therapy.

The study was an update of two previous reviews in 1998 and 2008 of evidence-based psychosocial treatments for children with DBDs up to age 12.

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"The results of this review add even more support behind the notion that parental involvement in treating disruptive behavioral issues in children is very important," Kaminski said. "Parents should consider these two therapies when looking for the right treatment for their child. With the help of trained professionals, they can be an active participant in their child's treatment."

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

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