Standardized Observation Analogue Procedure in the Treatment of Severe Childhood Aggression Study

Sabrina N. Grondhuis, Cristan A. Farmer, L. Eugene Arnold, Kenneth D. Gadow, Robert L. Findling, Brooke S.G. Molina, David J. Kolko, Kristin A. Buchan-Page, Robert R. Rice, Eric M. Butter, Michael G. Aman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore blinded observational outcomes in the Treatment of Severe Childhood Aggression (TOSCA) study. Methods: During a 9-week acute trial, children with severe physical aggression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder received parent training + titrated psychostimulant for 3 weeks, and those who failed to show an optimal response during Week 4 through Week 6 received in addition either randomly assigned placebo (Basic treatment) or titrated risperidone (Augmented treatment). Child and parent behaviors were videotaped in a Standardized Observation Analogue Procedure (SOAP) designed to elicit problems and strengths in child and parent interactions. SOAPs were collected at baseline and Week 9 and 52 follow-up. Results: During the acute 9-week trial, augmented treatment was associated with better outcomes than basic treatment for 3 of 13 measures: increased Child Compliance (p = 0.004; significant after correction for multiple tests), greater use of positive Parent Reinforcement (p = 0.03), and more Shared Enjoyment (p = 0.04). At follow-up, when medication was no longer by randomized assignment, parents used more Alpha Commands and displayed fewer Parent Negative Behaviors, and the dyads showed more Shared Enjoyment regardless of original randomization. Thus, there were better parent-child interactions with Augmented treatment, and interactions improved overall at follow-up regardless of original treatment assignment. Conclusions: The SOAP demonstrated sensitivity to behavior changes between short-term treatments for a few (but not most) measures. The acute treatment differences for Child Compliance and Child Negative Behavior are generally consistent with the moderate superiority of Augmented over Basic treatment previously reported for the primary study outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-54
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of child and adolescent psychopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • ADHD
  • aggression
  • clinical trial
  • disruptive behavioral disorders
  • observational measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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