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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The treatment acceptability of a behavioral parent training program and its components Calvert, Susan Cross


Treatment acceptability research has typically examined the acceptability of single isolated procedures rather than a comprehensive program of integrated procedures designed to deal with a problematic behavior. One such program developed to treat child noncompliance and other conduct-disordered behaviors is the Forehand-McMahon parent training program (1981). This program has been extensively evaluated and its effectiveness, generalizability, and social validity have been documented in numerous investigations (see McMahon & Forehand, 1984, for a review). In this study, the treatment acceptability of the Forehand-McMahon parent training program (1981) was evaluated in terms of its five individual parenting skills (attends, rewards, ignoring, commands, time out), three methods of introducing each new skill to the child (presenting a rationale, presenting a rationale and modeling its use, or no rationale or modeling), and the program as an entity. Ninety nonreferred mothers of 3- to 8-year old children were presented with written descriptions of the Forehand-McMahon parent training program as it would be applied to a typical clinic-referred family. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups by way of the written descriptions they received. These descriptions varied only in the method of introducing each new skill to the child. Subjects evaluated each of the individual parenting skills, the teaching method, and the overall program by way of the Treatment Evaluation Inventory (Kazdin, 1980a; 1980b) and the usefulness/difficulty measures of the Parent's Consumer Satisfaction Questionnaire (Forehand & McMahon, 1981). Subjects rated all aspects of the program very positively on overall ratings of acceptability suggesting that they perceived the program and its skills to be appropriate for the problem described, fair, sensible, and humane. Rewards, commands, and attends (strategies to increase deficit behavior) were rated as more acceptable than time out and ignoring (which attempt to reduce behavioral excesses). In terms of the methods of introducing each new skill to the child, presenting a rationale was rated as more acceptable than either presenting no rationale or presenting a rationale and modeling its use. Ratings of treatment acceptability were positively correlated with ratings of usefulness and negatively correlated with ratings of difficulty. The ordering of techniques on usefulness and difficulty dimensions directly paralleled ratings of acceptability with only one exception. Comparisons of these findings with previous studies of treatment acceptability and consumer satisfaction are made and discussed in light of the social validity of this parent training program.

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