Psychoeducation as a Mediator of Treatment Approach on Parent Engagement in Child Psychotherapy for Disruptive Behavior.

Research paper by Jonathan I JI Martinez, Anna S AS Lau, Bruce F BF Chorpita, John R JR Weisz,

Indexed on: 05 Jun '15Published on: 05 Jun '15Published in: Journal of clinical child and adolescent psychology : the official journal for the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 53


Parent engagement in treatment for child disruptive behavior has been associated with improved child outcomes in care. However, many families who enter care do not receive an adequate dose of treatment, and parents are often not involved. We examined therapists' use of psychoeducation, a therapeutic practice used to present factual information about target problems and treatments, and its association with parent engagement in child psychotherapy. Participants were drawn from the Child System and Treatment Enhancement Projects' multisite trial contrasting standard evidence-based treatments, modular treatment, or usual care. We included an ethnically diverse sample of 46 youth (ages 7-13) who received treatment for disruptive behavior in modular treatment or usual care. A reliable observational coding system was developed to assess therapists' in-session use of psychoeducation strategies (e.g., discussing causes of misbehavior, describing and providing rationale for treatment, etc.), as well as other engagement strategies (e.g., collaborative goal setting, managing expectations, etc.), in the early phase of treatment. Findings revealed that modular treatment therapists provided more psychoeducation and other engagement strategies compared with usual care therapists. Furthermore, psychoeducation strategies employed by therapists early on uniquely predicted subsequent parent involvement in treatment, over and above the use of other engagement strategies. Finally, therapists' use of the psychoeducation strategy of discussing causes of child's misbehavior mediated the effect of treatment condition on parent involvement in their child's therapy. These findings suggest that the implementation of psychoeducation strategies upon entry into care promotes parent involvement in child psychotherapy for disruptive behavior.