Interventions to reduce behavioral problems in children with cerebral palsy: An RCT

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APA Citation: 

Whittingham, K. Sanders, M., McKinlay, L., & Boyd, R. N. (2015). Interventions to reduce behavioral problems in children with cerebral palsy: An RCT. Pediatrics, 133, 1-9. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3620

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Article
Language: 
English
Abstract: 

OBJECTIVE: To test Stepping Stones Triple P (SSTP) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in a trial targeting behavioral problems in children with cerebral palsy (CP).

METHODS: Sixty-seven parents (97.0% mothers; mean age 38.7 ± 7.1 years) of children (64.2% boys; mean age 5.3 ± 3.0 years) with CP (Gross Motor Function Classification System = 15, 22%; II = 18, 27%; III =12, 18%; IV = 18, 27%; V = 4, 6%) participated and were randomly assigned to SSTP, SSTP + ACT, or waitlist. Primary outcomes were behavioral and emotional problems (Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory [ECBI], Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire [SDQ]) and parenting style (Parenting Scale [PS]) at postintervention and 6-month follow-up.

RESULTS: SSTP with ACT was associated with decreased behavioral problems (ECBI Intensity mean difference [MD] = 24.12, confidence interval [CI] 10.22 to 38.03, P = .003; ECBI problem MD = 8.30, CI 4.63 to 11.97, P < .0001) including hyperactivity (SDQ MD = 1.66, CI 0.55 to 2.77, P = .004), as well as decreased parental overreactivity (PS MD = 0.60, CI 0.16 to 1.04, P = .008) and verbosity (PS MD = 0.68, CI 0.17 to 1.20, P = .01). SSTP alone was associated with decreased behavioral problems (ECBI problems MD = 6.04, CI 2.20 to 9.89, P = .003) and emotional symptoms (SDQ MD = 1.33, CI 0.45 to 2.21, P = .004). Decreases in behavioral and emotional problems were maintained at follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: SSTP is an effective intervention for behavioral problems in children with CP. ACT delivers additive benefits.

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