The Incredible Years Program for Children from Infancy to Pre-adolescence: Prevention and Treatment of Behavior Problems
Effective interventions for children with conduct problems ideally target multiple risk factors and are best offered as early as possible. Conduct disorder becomes increasingly resistant to change over time, so early intervention is a crucial strategy for the prevention or reduction of conduct problems, violence, substance abuse, and delinquency. Children with ODD and CD are clearly identifiable as early as 3-4 years of age, and there is evidence that the younger the child is at the time of intervention, the more positive the behavioral adjustment at home and at school following treatment. Intervention that is delivered prior to school entry and during the early school years can strategically target risk factors across multiple domains; home and school, and through multiple change agents; parent, teacher, and child. Unfortunately, less than 20% of young children meeting DSM-IV criteria for ODD are referred for mental health services (Horwitz, Leaf, Jeventhal, Forsyth, & Speechley, 1992). Even fewer of those referred obtain evidence-based interventions.
To address the parenting, family, child, and school risk factors for children or adolescents with conduct problems, we have developed three complementary training curricula, known as the Incredible Years Training Series, targeted at parents, teachers, and children (from birth to 12 years). This chapter reviews these training programs and their associated research findings.