Group Parent-Child Interaction Therapy: A Randomized Control Trial for the Treatment of Conduct Problems in Young Children

Larissa N. Niec, Miya L. Barnett, Matthew S. Prewett, Jenelle R. Shanley Chatham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Objective: Although efficacious interventions exist for childhood conduct problems, a majority of families in need of services do not receive them. To address problems of treatment access and adherence, innovative adaptations of current interventions are needed. This randomized control trial investigated the relative efficacy of a novel format of parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT), a treatment for young children with conduct problems. Method: Eighty-one families with 3-to 6-year-old children (71.6% boys, 85.2% White) with diagnoses of oppositional defiant or conduct disorder were randomized to individual PCIT (n = 42) or the novel format, Group PCIT. Parents completed standardized measures of children's conduct problems, parenting stress, and social support at intake, posttreatment, and 6-month follow-up. Therapist ratings, parent attendance, and homework completion provided measures of treatment adherence. Throughout treatment, parenting skills were assessed using the Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System. Results: Parents in both group and individual PCIT reported significant improvements from intake to posttreatment and follow-up in their children's conduct problems and adaptive functioning, as well as significant decreases in parenting stress. Parents in both treatment conditions also showed significant improvements in their parenting skills. There were no interactions between time and treatment format. Contrary to expectation, parents in Group PCIT did not experience greater social support or treatment adherence. Conclusions: Group PCIT was not inferior to individual PCIT and may be a valuable format to reach more families in need of services. Future work should explore the efficiency and sustainability of Group PCIT in community settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-698
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • PCIT
  • childhood conduct problems
  • group treatment
  • parent management training
  • parent-child interaction therapy


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