Training Parents to Become Better Behavior Managers: The Need for a Competency-Based Approach

Vaughn I. Rickert, Donn C. Sottolano, John M. Parrish, Anne W. Riley, Frances M. Hunt, Lynn E. Pelco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Seven parents, each with a clinic-referred noncompliant child, participated in a 6-week group training program designed to teach instruction-giving and time-out skills. A didactic training format (lectures and modeling) was employed in the first three weekly sessions. The final three sessions involved competency-based instruction, during which parents had to demonstrate skills to a criterion level in order to complete training. A multiple baseline design across targeted skill domains was used to examine whether didactic training (with and without supplemental competency-based instruction), resulted in skill proficiency. Skill acquisition was assessed through simulations with adult confederates and the index child prior to training, at the conclusion of the didactic component, and following competency-based instruction. Parents' reports of the child's compliance with parental requests at home, the child's overall adjustment, and the degree of parental satisfaction with each training component were also obtained. In addition, 6-and 12-week follow-up assessments were completed. Results showed that didactic training alone was insufficient to promote skill acquisition to mastery criterion in each case. Following competency-based instruction, however, six of the seven parents achieved 90% skill proficiency with both targeted procedures. Acquired skills were maintained above baseline levels at 6- and 12-week follow-ups. Skill acquisition was typically associated with positive changes in all self-report measures. Results suggest that a group parent training approach to skill acquisition should include a competency-based curriculum along with direct observation outcome measures of targeted parent behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-496
Number of pages22
JournalBehavior Modification
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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