Parent-child interaction therapy: a comparison of standard and abbreviated treatments for oppositional defiant preschoolers

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2003 Apr;71(2):251-60. doi: 10.1037/0022-006x.71.2.251.


Families of 54 behaviorally disturbed preschool-aged children (3 to 5 years) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatment conditions: standard parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT; STD); modified PCIT that used didactic videotapes, telephone consultations, and face-to-face sessions to abbreviate treatment; and a no-treatment waitlist control group (WL). Twenty-one nondisturbed preschoolers were recruited as a social validation comparison condition. Posttreatment assessment indicated significant differences in parent-reported externalizing behavior in children, and parental stress and discipline practices from both treatment groups on most measures compared with the WL group. Clinical significance testing suggested a superior effect for the STD immediately after intervention, but by 6-month follow-up, the two groups were comparable. The findings indicate that abbreviated PCIT may be of benefit for families with young conduct problem children.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders / therapy*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Self Concept
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Videotape Recording