Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. Scott H. Kollins

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Galen Alessi


The incidence of conduct and behavioral disorders is steadily on the rise. Externalizing problems in the preschool years are considerable predictors of problems in later childhood, and even adulthood. There is a growing need for effective prevention programs for young children that can be implemented in school environments. Prevention efforts with young children often focus on self-control training for the reduction of impulsive behaviors. Impulsivity is an early presenting behavior pattern that can lead to a variety of disorders. The present study had two goals: (1) to measure the effects of a package intervention containing cognitive and behavioral treatment techniques on self-control in preschoolers, and (2) to use both cognitive and behavioral outcome measures to demonstrate where the changes, if any, would be most clearly seen. Thirty-one 4-year-old children in a preschool program for “at-risk” children were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group. The treatment group received a five-week self-control training program that incorporated cognitive and behavioral techniques. Dependent measures were assessed before and after intervention, and included Conners’ Rating Scales (CPRS, CTRS), Self-Control Rating Scale (SCRS), Matching Familiar Figures Test, classroom behavior observations, and a waiting task. The treatment group showed improvement on the CPRS and the SCRSteacher report. Many outcome measures showed significant changes from pre- to post-intervention that did not differ across groups. This cognitive-behavioral package intervention had a positive impact on widely used and well validated rating scale measures of impulsive behavior in preschool children. Cognitive-behavioral interventions such as this may be an effective prevention strategy to avert future maladaptive behaviors.


Fifth Advisor: Dr. Jori Reijonen

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access