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31-07-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2017 Open Access

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2017

Family Drawings before and after Treatment for Child Conduct Problems: Fluidity of Family Dysfunction

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2017
Lilian Kloft, David Hawes, Caroline Moul, Sonia Sultan, Mark Dadds


Children’s drawings have previously been found to reflect their representations of family relationships. The present study examined whether evidence-based parent training for child conduct problems impacts on representations of family functioning using the Family Drawing Paradigm (FDP). N = 53 clinic-referred children (aged 3–15) with conduct problems and their families were assessed pre-treatment and at 6-month follow-up on a modified version of the FDP. Analyses of changes in the FDP revealed improvements in family functioning but not tone of language (as indicated by written descriptors) following treatment. Higher family dysfunction scores were associated with increased levels of callous-unemotional (CU) traits in the children pre-treatment. Children with high levels of CU, however, demonstrated greater change in FDP dysfunction than a low CU group, resulting in similar levels at follow-up. CU traits also moderated the association between change in family warmth and conduct problem severity, with increased FDP warmth more strongly related to improved conduct problems in the high vs. the low CU group. FDP drawings are sensitive to changes in family functioning arising from parent training, accounting for unique variance in child outcomes independent of verbal reports.

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