Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Stringfield, Sam

Author's Keywords

Attachment; Child parent relationship therapy; CPRT; Attachment disorders


Family psychotherapy; Attachment disorder in children; Parent and child--Psychological aspects


This dissertation examined the effectiveness of Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT), a lO-week group model of Filial Therapy (FT), with caregivers of children with attachment problems. CPRT is an evidence-based treatment which is designed to strengthen relationship between caregiver and child. Research suggests that improvements in the relationship lead to changes in behavior and emotional regulation. Therapists treating children with attachment problems at Seven Counties Services, Inc. were concerned about the lack of interventions for children with attachment problems. This study used a randomized pre-test, post-test waitlist control group design to evaluate the effectiveness of CPRT for caregivers of children identified with attachment problems by their primary therapist. The evaluation was implemented in order to determine if caregivers reported decreases in their child's internalizing and externalizing behavior problems, decrease in the number of attachment problems, and positive changes in caregiver perception of the family social environment. Teacher reports were also measured to determine if child internalizing and externalizing problems decreased. Six separate MANCOVAs were run to analyze three sets of dependent variables for subjects that completed the study and for all subjects originally intended to receive treatment, Intent To Treat (ITT). MANCOV A results indicated an overall treatment effect for the set of variables: attachment symptoms, externalizing problems, and internalizing problems. Post-hoc analysis indicated a significant decrease in symptoms of attachment and externalizing problems. The treatment group neared significant differences on caregiver reported internalizing problems. Although there was no overall treatment effect for family social environment, trends toward positive change on the scales of control, achievement orientation, and independence were found at the univariate level. Teacher variables were not significant. ITT analysis did not find significant differences between groups. This study showed that participation in CPR T groups had some positive results on caregiver reported variables and may be a useful alternative for children with attachment problems seeking services in Community Mental Health Centers.