This paper presents two studies which attempt to clarify the processes by which families who have multiple problems respond to behavioural parent training procedures. Study 1 assessed a range of parent and child behaviours in diverse home and community childcare settings during baseline, child management training and 3-month follow-up. Results show that while treatment gains occurred in the home training setting with the therapist present, little generalization of therapeutic effects to other settings was found. At follow-up, the gains made in the training setting had largely reverted to baseline levels. Study 2 assessed the same parent and child behaviours across settings for another group of multidistressed families during baseline, child management training, generalization training (consisting of planned activities and a social-marital support intervention) and at follow-up. Results indicated that the generalization training was associated with further improvements in non-training settings for parent and child behaviour, and that these results had maintained or further improved at follow-up. The results are interpreted and discussed with reference to future research and clinical work with conduct disordered children and their families.