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Review: psychosocial interventions improve early disruptive behaviour in very young children

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Question: Are psychosocial interventions effective for disruptive behaviour in very young children?

Outcomes: Four symptom classes of disruptive behaviour problems: general externalising behaviour, aggression and serious rule violations, oppositionality/non-compliance, and impulsivity/hyperactivity. These were also combined in a composite outcome of overall disruptive behaviour symptoms.


Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources: MEDLINE and PsychINFO databases were searched in January 2012. Reference lists of studies identified were hand searched, as were tables of contents of relevant journals in the previous 2 years. A search was also carried out using the names of known experts in the field.

Study selection and analysis: Randomised controlled trials in which a psychosocial intervention targeted disruptive behaviour symptoms in children with an average age less than 8 years at baseline were included. Control groups could involve no active ingredients (including no treatment, waitlist and pill placebo); education, support and attention controls (ESA); and treatment as usual. Crossover studies and studies which had not been peer-reviewed were excluded. Studies had to include quantitative analyses, and enough data for the results to be included in the meta-analysis. Study results were pooled …

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