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The Clinical Significance of Treatments: A Comparison of Three Treatments for Conduct Disordered Children


Address correspondence to Philip C. Kendall, Department of Psychology, 1701 North 13th Street, Weiss Hall, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122.


We demonstrate two methods of assessing clinical significance by comparing three treatments for conduct-disordered children. Clinical significance was examined by exploring two questions. First, the question of whether the change attributable to treatment was of a large enough magnitude to be considered clinically significant was examined using the reliable change index. Second, whether treated individuals were distinguishable from normal individuals with regard to target variables was examined using normative comparisons conducted with a statistical technique known as equivalency testing. Three treatments meeting criteria for well-established or probably efficacious treatments were reviewed. All three produced clinically significant changes. However, significant differences were found in terms of normative comparisons.