Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The object of this study was to compare two different child management approaches (one general and one more specific) and to determine their effectiveness relative to each other. Subjects for this study were 22 parents who responded to a letter sent out by the group leader through four elementary schools in the Grand Forks Public School System. One week prior to the beginning of the sessions the leader visited each of the families to explain the research program and to have the parents fill out the pretest measures. All parents filled out basic demographic data, the Hereford Parent Attitude Survey, and the Behavior Problem Checklist. The parents selected one of the four groups (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday) to begin the following week. Parents who attended the Monday and Wednesday sessions were in the General . I in U / Ur*** approach while parents in the Tuesday and Thursday sessions were fU t in the Specific approach. Both approaches were generally comparable y q 0 i ^ J with respect to the demographic information and their scores on ' *" the Hereford Parent Attitude Survey. In addition, there were no significant differences between the Monday or Wednesday and the Tuesday or Thursday group when analyzed separately. All groups were scheduled for a five week period with each of the sessions lasting approximately two hours. Both treatment approaches were primarily educational in nature and focused on the acquisition and subsequent application of behavior modification principles. Parents in the General approach focused on the understanding and application of general behavior modification principles, while parents in the Specific approach ’were trained to apply behavior modification JeJfcd ****** techniques specifically to their child's problem behavior. Brief lectures, group discussion, occassional modeling by the group leader, movies, and handouts were an integral part of the program for both approaches.

At the end of the five weeks, the parents filled out the posttest measures. They completed the Attitude Toward Therapy Inventory, and a brief test of behavior modification terminology and its appropriate vise, during the last session. The parents were instructed to continue recording data on the target behavior for one more week, resulting in a total data collection period of four weeks. They returned this data along with the posttest form of the Behavior Problem Checklist, and a questionnaire designed to assess whether parents had generalized the behavior modification principles to other problem areas, by mail the following week.

Four outcome measures and two measures of parental cooperation were obtained and used in the data analyses: Behavior Problem Checklist scores, Target Behavior Reduction scores, Attitude Toward Therapy scores, attempts at generalization, attendance and completion of assigned data. Two-tailed t-tests were employed to check for differential treatment effects as a function of group assignment; however, no significant differences were found to exist between the two experimental groups on any of the outcome measures. Although both approaches showed improvement relative to their own baseline measures, there was no strong evidence to suggest that one method of training was superior to the other. Therefore, in order to shed additional light on the relative differences between the two approaches and the program as a whole, clinical data in the form of individual case studies was also presented.