The teacher, parent, and child trainings were primarily instituted in the University of Washington
Parenting Clinic. The children assigned to treatment conditions came to the clinic’s “Dinosaur
School.” Participants then practiced their skills at home and in the classroom.
A sample of 159 families was randomly assigned to one of six conditions: parent training alone
(PT; n = 31); child training alone (CT; n = 30); parent training plus teacher training (PT + TT; n =
24); child training plus teacher training (CT + TT; n = 23); parent and child training combined
with teacher training (PT + CT + TT; n = 25); or a wait-list comparison group (n = 26). The final
sample sizes for each of the six conditions differ by outcome measure. Participants were
recruited from families requesting treatment at the University of Washington Parenting Clinic.
Families were self-referred or referred by professionals in the community (20% by teachers
and 38% by physicians). The primary referral problem was child misconduct (e.g., noncompliance,
aggression, oppositional behaviors) that had been occurring for at least six months.
Families entered the study in three cohorts (50 to 55 families per cohort) in the fall of 1995,
1996, and 1997. Random assignment was conducted by lottery after all families in the cohort
had completed baseline assessments. The student sample was predominantly European
American (79%), 90% were boys, and the mean age was 71 months. The sample consisted of
students in preschool, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
The children assigned to CT, CT + TT, and CT + PT + TT conditions came to the clinic’s Dinosaur
School for 2 hours each week for 18 to 19 weeks (lasting approximately six months) and met with
two therapists. The Dinosaur School program specifically addressed interpersonal difficulties that
are problematic for young children with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Weekly letters were
sent to teachers and parents explaining the key concepts and the rationale for the targeted skill
(e.g., sharing, teamwork, friendly talk, listening, compliance to requests, feeling talk, and problem
solving). Teachers and parents were asked to reinforce the targeted social skills whenever they
noticed the child using them in the home or school, and children were given weekly homework
assignments to complete with their parents. The parents assigned to PT, PT + TT, and PT + CT +
TT conditions met at the clinic each week for a 2-hour session. Over the course of 22 to 24 weeks,
they watched 17 videotape programs on parenting and interpersonal skills designed to reduce
parents’ coercive interactions and strengthen positive interactions and relationships with their children. Teachers in the PT + TT, CT + TT, and PT + CT + TT conditions came to the clinic for 4
full days (32 hours) of group training sequenced throughout the school year, to correspond roughly
with the beginning, first quarter, second quarter, and end of the PT and CT treatments.
The families assigned to the comparison condition received no treatment from the Parenting
Clinic and had no contact with therapists during the 8- to 9-month waiting period. These families
were offered the parent training program after the outcomes from the first year of the study
had been measured.
This study included measures of Child Conduct Problems (CCP) at Home, Child Conduct
Problems (CCP) at School, and Child Social Competence (CSC) with Peers. For a more
detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B.
Support for implementation
The teacher curriculum targeted teachers’ use of effective classroom management strategies
for handling misbehavior, promoting positive relationships with difficult students, and
strengthening social skills in all school settings. Workshop topics included promoting social
skills through praise and encouragement, proactive teaching, using incentives to motivate
children, strategies to decrease disruptive behavior, and collaborative approaches for working
with parents. Teachers also learned to prevent peer rejection by helping the aggressive child
learn appropriate problem-solving strategies and by helping his or her peers respond appropriately
to aggression. Teachers were trained to have age-appropriate expectations and to
be sensitive to individual developmental differences and biological deficits in children, and to
understand the relevance of these differences for enhanced teaching efforts that are positive,
accepting, and consistent. To ensure the integrity of the treatment, therapists co-led their first
parent or child group with a supervisor, completed a weekly checklist of standards, and were
monitored weekly. All child and parent sessions were videotaped for feedback and analyses,
and the supervisor randomly selected videotapes for fidelity checks. Analyses indicated that
all required videotape vignettes were shown and that all required homework was assigned.