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Keywords:

  • Oppositional defiant disorder;
  • conduct problems;
  • parent training;
  • predictors;
  • long-term outcome

Background:  While short-term effects of parent training (PT) have been extensively evaluated, long-term outcome and present predictors of a diagnosis for children with ODD/CD treated with parent training are very limited.

Method:  In the present study, diagnostic status as outcome and predictors of treatment response were examined in a 5–6-year follow-up. Out of 99 children who had been treated in a randomised controlled trial evaluating the effects of The Incredible Years parent training (PT) or combined parent training and child treatment (PT+CT) programme, 54.5% participated in the 5–6-year follow-up study. Their diagnostic status was determined with the Kiddie-SADS interview.

Results:  While all children qualified for a diagnosis of ODD/CD before treatment, 5–6 years later, two-thirds no longer received such a diagnosis, the same proportion as found at the 1-year follow-up. The most powerful pre-treatment predictors of diagnostic status at the 5–6-year follow-up were living with mother only and being a girl. At post-treatment the most powerful predictor was found to be high levels of child externalising problems.

Conclusion:  The findings of the study support the maintenance of positive long-term results for young children treated with parent training because of serious conduct problems, and identify characteristics of children and families in need of added support to parent training programmes.