Changes in Children Suffering From Emotional and Behavioral Disorders After Dialectical Behavior Therapy
The aim of this study was to evaluate the changes after dialectical behavior therapy in 8–11-year-old children suffering from emotional and behavioral disorders.
Methods. The study was carried out with 52 children having emotional and behavioral problems and prone to disobey rules or commit crimes. There were 59.6% of boys and 40.4% of girls in the sample. The mean age of the participants was 9.5±0.2 years. Changes in participants’ behavior were evaluated by means of the Lithuanian translation of the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA) teacher’s report form.
Results. The major effect of the dialectical behavior program was observed when children had social problems or when their behavior was aggressive. All the participants demonstrated improvement in 4 aspects: they became less aggressive, were less prone to break rules, became more attentive, and had fewer social problems. The symptoms of avoidance/depression decreased only for boys, and anxiety/depression decreased only for girls. The level of breaking rules statistically significantly decreased only for 10- and 11-year olds, and the level of thinking problems decreased only for 11-year olds. The level of anxiety/depression changed only for 10-year olds, and the levels of avoidance/depression and somatic complaints did not change statistically significantly in any age group.
Conclusions. This program positively affected the expression of behavioral and emotional problems among 8–11-year-old children. The major changes were observed in aggressive behavior and social and attention problems. A tendency for older children to respond better to the treatment was noticed.
Correspondence to V. Grigaliūnienė Department of Nursing and Care, Medical Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Eivenių 4, 50161 Kaunas, Lithuania E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 14 April 2014, accepted 22 July 2014.