Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Gordon C. Hopper


The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of enhancing an already existing day treatment program for youth with severe behavior disorders. The intervention consisted of a short-term parent therapy group which operationalized elements of attachment theory and narrative therapy and then compared this to the program's regular treatment. This group focused on assisting parents (1) to review their past for a coherent story, (2) to identify and utilize a parenting strength, and (3) to voice their hopes and fears to their child with an emphasis on the child's potential. The effectiveness of this pilot group was assessed by both quantitative and qualitative methodology. There were six clients in the enhanced treatment condition, and nine clients in the regular treatment condition;For the quantitative aspect of this study a repeated measures design (specifically a split-plot design) was utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of the parent therapy group. The instruments used in this study included the Child Behavior Checklist1 and the Parent Attitude Survey2. For the qualitative aspect of this study, written responses to several open-ended questions were analyzed by three raters. This process allowed the emergence of thematic and theoretical inferences regarding the clients' experience of the parent therapy group;The results of the analysis of variance indicated no treatment effect and no treatment by time effect. There was a time effect which indicated that all of the parents reported an improvement in their perception of their child's behavior from pretest to posttest which likely supported the behavioral component of the program. The qualitative aspect to this study suggested the importance of this group for assisting the parents to gain an experience of cooperation, connection, and competency. The theoretical construct that was derived from the parental responses suggested that the group fulfilled deficit needs and was based on Maslow's3 theory of the hierarchy of needs. It did seem that the group experience fostered a change in self-definition and may be a useful tool to combat resistance which is frequently identified with this population;ftn1Achenbach, T. M. (1991). Child Behavior Checklist. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont. 2Hereford, C. F. (1963). Changing parental attitudes through group discussion. Austin, TX: Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. 3Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and personality (2nd edition). New York, NY: Harper & Row.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Susan Kathryn Schiltz-Day



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114 pages