Parent–Child Interaction Therapy for Children with Disruptive Behaviors and Autism: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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Parent-child interaction therapy, Autism spectrum disorder, Randomized clinical trail


A relatively large number of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit disruptive behavioral problems. While accumulating data have shown behavioral parent training programs to be efficacious in reducing disruptive behaviors for this population, there is a dearth of literature examining the impact of such programs across the range of ASD severity. To evaluate the effectiveness of Parent–Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), an evidence-based treatment for children with problem behaviors and their families, in reducing disruptive behaviors among children (4–10 years) with ASD (without intellectual disabilities). Fifty-five children (85.5% male, 7.15 years; SD 1.72) were enrolled from pediatric offices and educational settings into a randomized clinical trial (PCIT: N = 30; Control: N = 25). PCIT families demonstrated a significant reduction in child disruptive behaviors, increase in positive parent–child communication, improvement in child compliance, and reduction in parental stress compared to the control group. Exploratory analyses revealed no differential treatment response based on ASD severity, receptive language, and age. Results are promising for the use of PCIT with children demonstrating disruptive behaviors across the autism spectrum.


This article was published with support from the Open Access Publishing Fund administered through the University of Arkansas Libraries.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.