Parental Perceptions of the Development and Treatment of Children's and Adolescents' Emotional/ Behavioral Problems

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Parents read one of eight vignettes counterbalanced for gender (boy or girl), age (6-year old or 15-year old), and type of clinical problem (internalizing or externalizing). After reading the vignette, parents rated their perceptions of responsibility for the child's problems and the acceptability of different treatments. Results showed that mothers, fathers, and teachers were seen as more responsible for younger rather than older children's problems, whereas older children were seen as more responsible than younger children for their own problems. Teachers were seen as more responsible for children's internalizing problems and children were seen as more responsible for their own externalizing problems. This pattern of results was similar for mothers and fathers who were participants. Greater behavioral contingencies were perceived to be more acceptable for younger children and children with externalizing problems. Individual therapy, family therapy, and medication were perceived as more acceptable for internalizing than externalizing problems. Overall, internalizing problems were perceived as more severe than externalizing problems. Results were discussed in terms of the relationships between parents' perceptions and findings from empirical research.

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Child and Family Behavior Therapy, v. 18, issue 4, p. 19-36