Objectives: To evaluate putative moderator, predictor, and treatment parameter variables in relation to three outcomes in a clinical trial that compared a modular protocol for on-site, nurse-administered intervention (PONI) and enhanced usual care (EUC) for pediatric behavioral problems in primary care.
Methods: Patients were 163 clinically referred children for behavior problems in six primary care offices. PONI consisted of seven treatment modules adapted from prior treatment trials with this population, whereas EUC involved a facilitated referral to a community provider. Outcome measures were based on standardized scales reflecting one parent-rated aggregate (child dysfunction) and one child-rated aggregate (child health), and diagnostic interviews with both informants (remission in oppositional defiant disorder).
Results: Moderator analyses revealed that PONI was more effective than EUC in reducing child dysfunction by 12-month follow-up among Caucasian children, whereas EUC was more effective than PONI among non-Caucasian children. In the full sample, child health improvement was predicted by the severity of the child's depression and anxiety, and level of family conflict. Duration of child exposure to cognitive-behavioral treatment in PONI was related to greater improvement in overall child health, but other treatment parameters were unrelated to outcome.
Conclusions: These few significant relationships notwithstanding the findings indicate that the two treatments had robust effects on several outcomes and across selected child, parent, family, and treatment variables. The findings extend efforts to incorporate mental health services in pediatric practice.