Behavioral Interventions

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Volume 8 Issue 2 (April 1993), Pages fmi-fmi, 69-161

Brief report: The development of superstitious beliefs in the effectiveness of treatment of anger: Evidence for the importance of experimental program evaluation in applied settings (pages 147-161)


Many youth placed in out of home care have serious anger and aggression problems. These youth create much administrative and staff frustration. This frustration can cause program administrators to look to new treatment modalities whether inside or outside of their specific milieu for the therapeutic solutions to these problems. This randomized control group study provides an example of the importance of experimental program evaluation when an applied setting begins a drift towards the use of new treatment modalities. The results showed that both treatment and control groups improved over time but that there was no differences between groups in the daily number of angry incidents, the number of youth negatively terminated from the program, or self‐report of state‐trait anger expression. The results also suggest that without this research the noneffective intervention would have continued to be funded and given causative status for the observed improvements in referred youth behavior into the foreseeable future. Moreover, the development of these types of superstitious beliefs may lead child care organizations to spend scarce dollars on expensive treatments that do not increase the efficacy of the treatment as usual. Thus, this study shows that there are potential economic and treatment efficacy reasons for the use of experimental program evaluation when new treatments are implemented.

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