Are relationship enhancement and behavior management "the golden couple" for disruptive child behavior? Two meta-analyses Academic Article uri icon


  • Parenting programs for reducing disruptive child behavior are built on two main perspectives: relationship enhancement (i.e., unconditional sensitivity diminishes disruptiveness) and behavior management (i.e., conditional rewards diminish disruptiveness). Two meta-analyses (156 and 41 RCTs; Ntotal  = 15,768; Mchildage  = 1-11 years) tested the theoretical model that integrating relationship enhancement with behavior management is superior to behavior management alone. The integrative approach showed no overall superiority. Relative to behavior management, the integrative approach was superior in treatment settings, but inferior in prevention settings (Meta-analysis 1). The integrative approach and behavior management approach did not have differential sustained effects up to 3 years after the program (Meta-analysis 2). Findings argue against current practice to implement the same parenting programs in treatment and prevention settings.

publication date

  • 2018