Addressing Disruptive Behavior in Young Children

Categories: New Grant Award

Type: News

Date Published: 11/19/2013

As many as 10-15% of preschoolers and children at school entry have mild to moderately severe disruptive behavior problems. In this project funded by the National Institute on Mental Health and in collaboration with the University of South Carolina, ORI scientist Carol Metzler, Ph.D., and her team are testing an online parent training program to see how it compares to staff-delivered training in helping parents improve their children’s emotional, social, and behavioral functioning. Disruptive behavior disorders (DBDs), or conduct problems, in young children represent a major public health challenge with significant consequences. These problems appear as early as preschool, marked by early defiant, noncompliant, and aggressive behaviors, and they can lead to social, emotional, and academic problems throughout childhood, greatly increasing a child’s risk for later mental health problems, delinquency, substance abuse, academic failure, and risky sexual behavior. If these problems are not treated early, DBDs are much more likely to become chronic disorders in adolescence and less responsive to intervention. Behavioral parent training programs are the treatment of choice, but many challenges remain in getting these programs to the parents who need them most. This study addresses this challenge by examining whether online delivery of an evidence-based parenting program is as effective as face-to-face delivery, comparing the two delivery formats on effectiveness in improving children’s behavior and parents’ parenting practices, parent satisfaction, and cost-effectiveness.