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An outcome evaluation of an after -school program for children with emotional and behavioral disorders

Jennifer Marie Wyatt, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The present study served to: (1) evaluate a partial-day treatment program for children with emotional and behavioral disorders; (2) explore variables associated with increased likelihood of success in the treatment program; and (3) further the knowledge of the developmental trajectories of prosocial and aggressive behaviors in school-aged youth. Children in the treatment group attended an after-school program five days per week (and/or a full-day program during the summer); the average length of treatment was approximately 6 months. The comparison group was recruited by asking elementary school principals to send recruitment packets to the parents of children experiencing similar emotional and behavioral difficulties. The data analyzed from the treatment group consisted of pre-test and post-test parent-reports on 20 clients (16 boys and 4 girls); the data analyzed from the comparison group consisted of pre-test and post-test parent-reports on 25 children (19 boys and 6 girls). Repeated-measures ANCOVAs showed that clients decreased more than comparison children on difficult parent-child interactions, and that boys in the treatment group (compared to boys in the comparison group) decreased more on irritability and increased more on empathy. No significant group differences were found for aggression, impulse control, hyperactivity, or prosocial behavior. Exploratory analyses revealed that parental involvement was associated with a client's increased likelihood of graduating, while parent-child ratio in the home was not. In addition, the program seemed to be serving equally well clients with diagnoses reflecting only externalizing behaviors and clients with diagnoses reflecting internalizing and externalizing behaviors. The path analysis predicting aggressive behavior revealed that, as expected, increases in impulse control were associated with decreases in aggression (and vice versa). Contrary to expectations, the path analyses predicting prosocial behavior revealed that increases in impulse control were not reliably associated with increases in prosocial behavior. The study improved upon previous evaluations by recruiting a comparison group, using psychometrically sound outcome measures, and examining the program's theory of change. Implications for the program and for future evaluations are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Wyatt, Jennifer Marie, "An outcome evaluation of an after -school program for children with emotional and behavioral disorders" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3055298.