Category: Treatment - CBT

PS4- #A12 - A Father's Role: Unexpected Effects of Father-Child Conflict on Adolescent CBT Outcomes

Friday, Nov 17
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Adolescent Depression | Treatment-CBT | Families

Research suggests parent-child conflict poses a threat of psychopathology and can affect treatment outcomes among adolescents seeking CBT (Kane & Garber, 2004). However, studies on parent-child conflict have focused largely on the mother’s role (Kane & Garber, 2004), with limited research on how father-child conflict relates to therapeutic outcomes. Perhaps other factors, such as barriers to treatment, influence outcomes beyond father-child conflict. For example, clients’ outcome expectancy, which is defined as the extent to which a client expects to benefit from treatment (Katerelos et al., 2015), may be closely related to a client’s perception of how relevant a treatment is for them; however, there is currently a need for additional research on perceived treatment relevancy. This may be particularly important in school-based interventions. For example, Waas and Anderson (1991) found that a student’s positive or negative perception of treatment is directly associated with treatment outcome. Madden and Salvin (1983) proposed that students might have negative feelings toward a school-based intervention due to their removal from the traditional classroom setting. These negative feelings can include fears of therapy being unsuccessful for them (Stewart, Steele, and Roberts, 2014), perhaps leading to no personal relevancy. This is especially important because students who perceive positive outcomes exhibit less depressive symptoms post-therapy (Curry et al., 2006). In the present study, it is hypothesized that decreases in adolescent perception reports of father-child conflict lead to better therapeutic outcomes, as measured by decreases in depressive symptoms post school-based CBT, and after controlling for perceived treatment relevancy.


Participants (n=21) were part of a larger study on student depression across four Colorado high schools where, uniquely, the therapy was given in the school itself. Students completed several questionnaires including the Conflict Behavior Questionnaire, the Barriers to Treatment Participation Scale, and the Beck Depression Inventory at pre and post-treatment. Paired sample t-tests were used to compare changes in reported mother and father conflict scores, and interestingly, only father-child conflict scores changed significantly over treatment. A multiple linear regression was used to determine if father-child conflict scores predicted changes in BDI scores from pre to post-treatment, beyond treatment relevancy. Perceived father-child conflict and treatment relevance accounted for a significant change in the variance presented in depressive symptoms. The importance of other proximal outcomes, such as positive parent-child relationships and parent involvement in adolescent therapy, will be discussed.

Melanie A. Rosler

Project Lab Manager
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

Amanda Peterson

Graduate Student
University of South Florida

Lora M. Williams

Lab Manger
University of South Florida

Renee Hangartner

Doctoral Candidate, Graduate Student
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

Maureen Monahan

Graduate Student
University of South Florida

Miranda M. Courteaux

Lab Manager
University of South Florida

Edmund W. Orlowski

Research Assistant
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

Christa Labouliere

Stephen R. Shirk

Professor
University of Denver

Marc S. Karver

Associate Professor
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida