Category: Treatment - Other

Symposium

Neural Changes After CBT in Children With Externalizing Problem Behaviors

Saturday, November 18
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Cobalt 501, Level 5, Cobalt Level

Keywords: Psychophysiology | Externalizing | Child
Presentation Type: Symposium

Background: Treatment for externalizing behavior problems in children is effective but also reveals considerable variability in outcomes. Neural measures offer the possibility of providing novel insights understanding this variability that can complement traditional models explaining problem behaviors in children. This presentation summarizes findings from a decade-long research program investigating neural changes in children with externalizing problems who underwent a cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) program.


Methods: A group of children (n=70) with externalizing problem behaviors related to aggression underwent an intense 12-week combined CBT and parent management training intervention program (SNAP - Stop Now And Plan) aimed at improving self-regulation. Children were assessed at the neuroscience lab on a battery of executive function and neural electroencephalography tasks before, after, and a year after treatment ended.

Results: Results show neural changes in ERP components (e.g., N2 amplitudes) and time frequency domain measures (theta power) in improvers with treatment compared to non-improvers at post-treatment and year-follow up time points. The neural markers can be linked to brain activity derived from the anterior cingulate cortex, an area consistently implicated in a network subserving the flexible regulation of behavior. 


Conclusion: We will discuss how these neural models contribute to recent theoretical models of externalizing behavior problems and what the implications are for practitioners.

Steven Woltering

Texas A & M University

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