Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Galen Alessi

Second Advisor

Dr. Scott Gaynor

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy Damashek

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Helen Pratt


Disruptive behavior, child/parent relationship theory, filial therapy, CPRT


Young children who display extreme levels of disruptive behaviors are at increased risk for later academic difficulties, poor social relationships and adolescent delinquency, making early intervention efforts a priority. Studies evaluating Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) have demonstrated its effectiveness in improving parental empathy, improving parental acceptance, decreasing parenting stress, and decreasing perceived child problem behavior. These outcomes, however, must be evaluated in light of several research limitations (e.g., lack of randomization, use of non-standardized measures, lack of treatment integrity data). Well conducted studies that assess the effectiveness of CPRT on specific presenting problems are needed to evaluate better the impact, versatility, and long-term effect of this treatment. The purpose of the current study was to determine, in the context of a natural multiple baseline across participants design, the impact of the CPRT protocol on parent report of (a) child disruptive behavior, (b) parenting relationship, (c) acceptance of the child, (d) parenting stress, and direct observation of (e) parental displays of empathy, (f) positive parent behaviors and (g) child disruptive behavior when used for parents with children displaying disruptive behavior. Results suggest that CPRT was effective in reducing parent report of child disruptive behavior, improving parent ratings of their relationship with their child relative to attachment, communication, involvement, parenting confidence and relational frustration, decreasing parenting stress, improving parent report of acceptance of their child, increasing observations of empathy, and positive parent behavior for parents of children with disruptive behavior.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons