Disruptive Behavior Treatment Progress as a Function of Therapy Focus and Youth Diagnosis in a Community Mental Health Setting

  • Daniel P. Wilkie
  • David C. Cicero
  • Charles W. Mueller
Original Article


Monthly disruptive behavior treatment progress for 613 youth ages 7–18 receiving intensive in-home services was examined. Multilevel modeling indicated carrying a depressive mood diagnosis predicted less disruptive behavior progress compared to youth with only externalizing diagnoses. Paradoxically, more monthly focus on disruptive behavior treatment targets predicted lower concurrent progress ratings, while greater focus on depressive mood targets predicted greater disruptive behavior progress for youth with a depressive mood diagnosis. Findings held when other predictors of disruptive behavior progress were included as covariates, including episode length, youth age, and functional impairment. Treatment and research implications are discussed.


Children’s mental health Disruptive behavior Depression Usual care Treatment targets 



This study was supported in part from a research and evaluation contract awarded to the third author by the State of Hawaii Department of Health, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel P. Wilkie
    • 1
  • David C. Cicero
    • 1
  • Charles W. Mueller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Hawai‛i at MānoaHonoluluUSA

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