Marital Discord and Treatment Outcome in Behavioral Treatment of Child Conduct Disorders

Mark R. Dadds*, Steven Schwartz, Matthew R. Sanders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Citations (Scopus)


Research assessing the role of marital variables in the treatment of childhood conduct disorders is scarce. The aim of this study was (a) to assess the role of marital discord in the overall outcome of a program training parents in behavioral techniques (behavioral parent training) and (b) to assess the effects of an adjunctive treatment (partner support training [PST]) on outcome. The latter treatment focused on marital conflict, communication, and problem solving. Twenty-four families with a child diagnosed as oppositional or conduct disordered were assigned to either a marital-discord group (n = 12) or a no-marital-discord group (n = 12). Families within each group were then randomly assigned to either child management training (CMT) alone or CMT with PST. Measures of child deviance, parenting behavior, and marital satisfaction were collected at pre- and posttraining and at a 6-month follow-up. Results indicated a significant interaction between marital discord and treatment type on most measures at follow-up but not at posttraining. Although PST added little to the maintenance of change for the nondiscordant group, it produced significant gains over those who received CMT only for the discordant group. Further results highlighting the interaction of marital and treatment variables are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-403
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1987
Externally publishedYes

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