Yale Parenting Center

Making Families Stronger



For approximately three decades, our clinical-research team has studied questions related to the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of childhood behavior problems, including aggression, theft, truancy, and firesetting.  As part of that, we have studied child-rearing practices, parenting, and ways in which parenting can be altered to improve child functioning at home, at school, and in the community. Our research has been pivotal in the development of effective child- and family-based interventions. For example, our studies have yielded concrete practices that parents can use in their day-to-day lives. These practices make a big difference in child behavior— we have seen this in the results of formal studies, but also in the everyday reports of thousands of parents and teachers.

More broadly, our work also examines current child and adolescent treatment practices in use in the mental health professions, the clinical and research bases of these practices, and the implications for mental health services. As part of this work, we study factors related to engaging children and families in treatment, risk factors associated with premature termination from treatment, and factors during treatment (e.g., parent expectations, therapeutic alliance) that can be mobilized to improve clinical outcomes.

Key Findings on the Kazdin Method SM

  • The Kazdin Method SM (KM) has a clinically significant effect on reducing conduct problems. With the treatment, about 80% of clinically-referred children achieve very large improvements at home and at school.
  • KM SM has been evaluated in many controlled and government-sponsored trials of youths varying in age from 2 to 17 years old.
  • KM SM is effective for diverse ethnic groups, including African American, Hispanic American, and multiethnic groups.
  • Marked improvements in child behavior have been documented by parent and teacher reports, direct observations of behavior at home and at school, as well as institutional records (school truancy, police contacts, arrest rates, institutionalization).
  • Gains are maintained after parents complete our program. We have shown that these gains can last at least up to two years after the program has ended. Others have shown that the gains continue when checked 14 years later.
  • The benefits of our program are reflected in areas of child, parent, and family functioning. For example, we have found that children improve in their behavior as well as in their social relationships both at home and at school. Parent benefits include a reduction in stress that they experience at home. Families also report improved overall family relationships. The changes have been demonstrated in our studies and informal parent reports.

Sample of Publications

Articles for Parents

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2010, August 11). Children and stress: The new science on chronically harsh and conflict-ridden households. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2010, May 31). Get off Facebook and do something! How to motivate an inert child. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2010, March 26). If you’re good, I’ll buy you a toy: The difference between bribing your child and rewarding your child. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2010, February 5). II: No brakes! The best way to guide your teenager through the high-risk years. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2010, February 4). I: No brakes! Risk and the adolescent brain.Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2009, November 12). Like a Rat:  Animal research and your child’s behavior. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2009, September 17). Plan B: What to do when all else has failed to change your kid’s behavior. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2009, August 11). Bullies: They can be stopped, but it takes a village. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2009, May 29). I think I’m worried about my kid. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2009, March 27). The messy room dilemma: When to ignore behavior, when to change it. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2009, February 5). No, you shut up! What to do when your kid provokes you into an inhuman rage. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2009, January 27). Your kids will imitate you: Use it as a force for good. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., & Rotella, C. (2009, January 2). Reading isn’t fundamental: How to help your child learn to read. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., with Carlo Rotella, (2008, November 7). Why can’t Johnny jump tall buildings? Parents expect way too much from their kids. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., with Carlo Rotella, (2008, September 24). Spare the rod: Why you shouldn’t hit your kids. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., with Carlo Rotella, (2008, June 27). Family feuds: How to make “time-outs” less like bar fights. Slate Magazine.

Kazdin, A.E., with Carlo Rotella, (2008, April 10). Tiny tyrants: How to really change your kid’s behavior. Slate Magazine.

Research Papers

Kazdin, A. E., & Blase, S.L. (2011). Rebooting psychotherapy research and practice to reduce the burden of mental illness. Perspectives On Psychological Science, 6, 21-37.

Kazdin, A.E. (2010). Problem-solving skills training and parent management training for Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder. In J.R. Weisz & A.E. Kazdin (Eds.). Evidence-based psychotherapies for children and adolescents (2nd ed., pp. 211-226). New York: Guilford Press.

Kazdin, A.E. (2010). Improving the quality of care and reducing the burden of clinical dysfunction. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research. doi: 10.1007/s10488-010-0269-

Kazdin, A.E., & De Los Reyes, A. (2008). Conduct disorder. In R.J. Morris & T.R. Kratochwill (Eds.), The practice of child therapy (pp. 207-247, 4th ed.). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Kazdin, A. E. (2008). Evidence-based treatment and practice: New opportunities to bridge clinical research and practice, enhance the knowledge base, and improve patient care. American Psychologist, 63, 146-159.

Perepletchikova, F., Treat, T.A., & Kazdin, A.E. (2007). Treatment integrity in psychotherapy research: Analysis of the studies and examination of the associated factors.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 829-841.

Nock, M.K., Kazdin, A.E., Hiripi, E., & Kessler, R.C. (2007). Lifetime prevalence, correlates, and persistence of Oppositional Defiant Disorder: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48, 703-713.

Kazdin, A.E. (2007). Psychosocial treatments for conduct disorder in children and adolescents. In P.E. Nathan & J.M. Gorman (Eds.), A guide to treatments that work (3rded., pp. 71-104). New York: Oxford University Press.

Kazdin, A.E. (2007). Mediators and mechanisms of change in psychotherapy research.Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 3, 1-27.

Kazdin, A.E., Whitley, M., & Marciano, P.L. (2006). Child-therapist and parent-therapist alliance and therapeutic change in the treatment of children referred for oppositional, aggressive, and antisocial behavior. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 436-445.

Kazdin, A.E., & Whitley, M.K. (2006). Pretreatment social relations, therapeutic alliance, and improvements in parenting practices in parent management training. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 346-355.

Kazdin, A.E., & Whitley, M.K. (2006). Comorbidity, case complexity, and effects of evidence-based treatment for children referred for disruptive behavior. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 455-467.

De Los Reyes, A., & Kazdin, A.E. (2005). Informant discrepancies in the assessment of childhood psychopathology: A critical review, theoretical framework, and recommendations for further study. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 483-509.

Kazdin, A. E., & Whitley, M. K. (2003). Treatment of parental stress to enhance therapeutic change among children referred for aggressive and antisocial behavior. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 71, 504-515.

Kazdin, A. E., & Nock, M. K. (2003). Delineating mechanisms of change in child and adolescent therapy: methodological issues and research recommendations. Journal Of Child Psychology And Psychiatry, 44, 1116-1129.

Nock, M. K., & Kazdin, A. E. (2001). Parent expectancies for child therapy: Assessment and relation to participation in treatment.  Journal Of Child And Family Studies, 10, 155-180.

Kazdin, A. E., & Wassell, G. (2000). Therapeutic changes in children, parents, and families resulting from treatment of children with conduct problems. Journal of The American Academy Of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 39, 414-420.

Kazdin, A. E., & Wassell, G. (2000). Predictors of barriers to treatment and therapeutic change in outpatient therapy for antisocial children and their families. Mental Health Services Research, 2, 27-40.

For information on our research, contact us.


Our research has been supported by grants from: