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Achieving Generalization in School-Based Mental Health

  • Steven W. Evans
  • Joshua Langberg
  • Jeff Williams†
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)

School-based mental health services present a unique opportunity to improve the effectiveness of mental health care for children. One of the key advantages to school-based mental health services is the opportunity to successfully generalize treatment gains to the settings in which the presenting problems exists (Evans, 1999). This type of service is especially timely, as studies are raising questions about the effectiveness of many clinic-based treatments often fail is particularly interesting in light of the fact that laboratory studies consistently document the effectiveness of various treatments (Kazdin & Weisz, 1998)

Many efforts have been made to bridge the gap between the lab and the clinic with the hopes of increasing the effectiveness of the general practice of psychotherapy. Unfortunately, these efforts are unlikely to yield the intended results until the field increases its emphasis on the generalization of treatment gains. The lack of emphasis on generalization has been a limitation in the literature for a long time (Rutter, 1982), yet it is central to the goals of treatment. A review of the child behaviour therapy literature revealed that less than 50% of the 904 treatment studies reviewed reported data on generalization (Allen et al., 1991). While methods for achieving generalization are described in the literature (e.g., Evans, Axelrod, & Sapia, 2000; Stokes & Osnes, 1989), there continues to be a lack of emphasis on this critical element of treatment outcome

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven W. Evans
    • 1
  • Joshua Langberg
    • 1
  • Jeff Williams†
    • 1
  1. 1.James Madison UniversityHarrisonburgVrginia

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