An evaluation of a cognitive-behavioral intervention with severely emotionally handicapped seventh-grade boys

Barry Fitzgerald, Pace University


This project attempted to demonstrate the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for impulsive children (Kendall et al, 1985) with three seventh grade boys. The subjects attended a special school for severely emotionally handicapped children and were diagnosed as conduct disordered. Two dependent variables were used as repeated measures and two other dependent variables were used as continuous measures across 12 weeks in a multiple baseline design. Data were analyzed according to a priori probability criteria based on an innovative utilization of the multinomial distribution (Ward, 1987). The Self-Control Rating Scale (SCRS) (Kendall & Wilcox, 1979) was administered to classroom teachers at three intervals. The SCRS data indicated an immediate effect for only one subject, and did not meet the prespecified patterns of effects. The Matching Familiar Figures Test (MFF) (Kagan, 1966a) was administered to subjects at the same intervals. On the MFF only one subject showed an immediate effect for response latency, which again did not meet the a priori criteria. A significant immediate decrease in MFF errors was observed for all three subjects, p $<$.016. The number of times a subject was sent to the time out room was recorded on a weekly basis. The mean number of time outs for each subject during the final weeks of the intervention and follow-up periods was compared with their mean baseline performance. However, time out data failed to meet prespecified patterns of outcome. The main dependent variable, off-task behavior, was recorded twice daily for 48 days by classroom teacher assistants. The subjects' mean off-task behavior for the final weeks of the intervention and the follow-up was compared with baseline. All subjects showed immediate with long term reductions of off-task behavior, p = $<$.004. However, a non-parametric trend analysis using Kendall's tau found only one subject to have a significant downward trend during the intervention and follow-up periods, tau = -.320, and tau = -.407. The Kendall intervention (1976 & 1978) had previously been shown to be effective in reducing impulsivity in regular public schools, but the results of this study were not substantial enough to conclude that it was either effective or useful with a more disturbed population.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Psychotherapy|Special education

Recommended Citation

Fitzgerald, Barry, "An evaluation of a cognitive-behavioral intervention with severely emotionally handicapped seventh-grade boys" (1990). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9105709.



Remote User: Click Here to Login (must have Pace University remote login ID and password. Once logged in, click on the View More link above)