Does maintenance treatment matter?

Sheila Eyberg, Stephen Boggs, James Jaccard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the effects of a two-year maintenance treatment assessed at 1 and 2 years following Parent-child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Sixty-one of 100 clinic-referred children (M age = 4 years, 4 months) originally diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) completed the standard treatment and were then randomized to PCIT maintenance treatment (MT) or to an assessment-only follow-up condition (AO). Rating scale and observational measures from fathers, mothers, and children were collected before and after standard treatment and at one- and two-year follow-up assessments. Maintenance treatment involved monthly telephone contacts from the original therapist focused on relapse prevention based on principles of PCIT. At the two-year follow-up, MT families showed few changes from post-treatment, as expected. However, the expected decrements for AO control families were not seen. Few differences between MT and AO were found at either follow-up assessment, and there were no significant differences in the rates of change during follow-up. The maintenance of gains among AO families may have resulted from the continuous enhancement of standard treatment or from inadvertent reinforcement for maintenance provided by the assessments of change alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-366
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Booster treatment
  • Continuous enhancement
  • Fathers
  • Follow-up
  • Maintenance treatment
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Outcome studies
  • Parent-child interaction therapy
  • Treatment of disruptive behavior disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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