Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Relationship Therapy in the Treatment of Children Referred for Antisocial Behavior

Alan E. Kazdin, Debra Bass, Todd Siegel, Christopher Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

174 Scopus citations


The present study evaluated alternative treatments for children (N = 112, ages 7-13) referred for severe antisocial behavior. Children were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: problemsolving skills training (PSST), problem-solving skills training with in vivo practice (PSST-P), which included therapeutically planned activities to extend training to settings outside of treatment, or client-centered relationship therapy (RT). PSST and PSST-P children showed significantly greater reductions in antisocial behavior and overall behavior problems, and greater increases in prosocial behavior than RT children. These effects were evident on measures obtained immediately after treatment and at a I-year follow-up, and on measures of child performance at home and at school. PSST-P children showed greater changes than PSST children on measures of functioning at school at posttreatment, but these differences were no longer evident at follow-up. Children in both PSST conditions showed significant reductions in deviant behavior and improvements in prosocial behavior from pretreatment to follow-up, whereas RT children tended to remain at their pretreatment level of functioning. Notwithstanding the significant improvements, comparisons with nonclinic (normative) samples revealed that the majority of youth remained outside of the normal range of deviant behavior. Possible directions for improving treatment for antisocial youth are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-535
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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