Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

May 1999


Published in Education and Treatment of Children Vol. 22, May 1999, Issue 2, pp. 157-170. Education and Treatment of Children is published quarterly by the West Virginia University Press in cooperation with California University of Pennsylvania. Used by permission.


This case illustrates the contributions of continuous data monitoring to clinical decision making in the treatment of an adolescent with severe conduct problems. Treatment began with a comprehensive point system that required the continual monitoring of a range of target behaviors. Beginning each session with a review of graphs of the monitored behaviors helped keep the sessions focused and rewarded the client and his parents with visual feedback of their progress. A subjective rating system was also implemented in which the client’s parents quantified their evaluations of his overall behavior on a daily basis. This system enhanced the client’s parents’ sensitivity to the relationship between his observable behavior and their subjective evaluations of him. It also helped the therapists determine when the point system had reached the peak of its effectiveness and conclude that a family-based treatment approach was needed. As part of family-based treatment, a rating scale was developed that assisted the therapists in conducting family problem-solving training and allowed for continued evaluations of the family’s progress in learning key skills.