Evaluation of Day Treatment Services for Children: An Examination of Outcome by DSM-IV Diagnosis
Larsen, Lynn A.
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Previous research on the effectiveness of day treatment services for children has not utilized empirical designs. This study investigated outcome using a strict research design, and explored outcomes as they varied by diagnosis. Participants were children between ages of 4 and 10 years who sought admission to day treatment for the following diagnoses: Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), or disruptive behavior disorders such as Conduct Disorder (CD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Children were assigned to either treatment or waitlist control. Children in the treatment condition attended an existing day treatment program for 1 year. Following the treatment period, scores on standard measures for functioning and behavior were compared to those of the waitlist control group. Children with anxiety disorders were predicted to have greatest improvement overall, and children with ADHD were predicted to show the greatest improvement of children with disruptive behavior disorders.