A COMPARISON OF FUNCTIONAL FAMILY THERAPY AND PEER GROUP THERAPY IN THE TREATMENT OF HYPERACTIVE ADOLESCENTS

SUSAN JANE REGAS, Purdue University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of Functional Family Therapy and Peer Group Therapy in the treatment of hyperactive adolescents. The study examined whether the treatment programs made significant changes in perceived family effectiveness, emotional distance felt between family members, adolescents' behavior at home and at school, and the adolescents' self concept.^ Eighteen families were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups, Family Therapy or Group Therapy and to a no treatment control group. Families were tested before and after the eight week treatment programs and again at a five month follow-up. For ethical reasons the control group was only administered pretest and posttest before receiving treatment.^ The assessment battery included multiple change indices which measured changes in the hyperactive adolescents as well as changes in the families. The Family Concept Inventory was used to measure perceived family effectiveness. In order to estimate the emotional distance felt between family members, the Kvebaek Family Sculpture Technique was used. The Werry-Weiss-Peters Rating Scale and the Parent Checklist of Child's Behavior were used to measure behavior at home. The Conner's Teacher Rating Scale was used to assess adolescents' behavior at school. Adolescent self concept was measured by the Tennessee Self Concept Scale.^ The results were analyzed using analyses of covariance and repeated measures analysis of covariance. Family Therapy and Group Therapy were equally effective at decreasing the emotional distance felt between the hyperactive adolescent and other family members and at improving the adolescents' behavior at home and at school. All positive results were maintained at follow-up. Neither program was effective at significantly changing the adolescents' self concept.^ The major difference between the treatment programs was that families in Family Therapy perceived their family as functioning more effectively than families in Group Therapy or in the Control Group. This finding was particularly important since the family plays a major role in determining the future of the hyperactive adolescent. Research has demonstrated that hyperactive children who come from well functioning, cohesive, and supportive families do better behaviorally in adolescence.^

Degree

Ph.D.

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

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