Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

A Rational-Emotive Treatment program with conduct disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder adolescents


This study investigated the effects of a 12-week treatment program, based on Rational-Emotive Therapy, with conduct disorder (CD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) adolescents. Two independent homogeneous CD (N=12) and ADHD (N=12) groups were selected on the basis of the DSM-111-R and use of methylphenidate. The dependent variables were irrational thinking, depression, and anger. Lecture, discussion, and theYou Can Do It!Motivational Program video were used in the treatment intervention. Discriminant function analysis of pretest scores revealed that 96% of the students were correctly classified (CD=100%, ADHD=92%). Multivariate analysis of pre-posttest scores revealed that the CD group significantly changed on all dependent variables, while no significant differences were found with the ADHD group. A comparison of posttest scores on the measure of irrational thinking revealed that the CD group accepted responsibility for their upsetness and were more willing to change than the ADHD group. The results of the study are interpreted in terms of the distinguishing characteristics of each group.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (1987).DSM-III-R: Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed.). Washington, D. C: American Psychiatric Association.

  2. Ash, E., & Bernard, M. (1990).You can do it! Motivational video program. Melbourne, Australia: Seven Dimensions Producers.

  3. Awad, G. (1985). Responsiveness in psychotherapy with anti-social adolescents.American Journal of Psychotherapy, 39, 490–497.

  4. Barkley, R. A., Karlsson, J., Pollard, S., & Murphy, J. V. (1985). Developmental changes in the mother-child interactions of hyperactive boys: Effects of two dose levels of Ritalin.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 25, 705–715.

  5. Beck, A. T., & Beck, R. W. (1972). Screening depressed patients in family practice: A rapid technique.Postgraduate Medicine, 52(6), 81–85.

  6. Beck, A. T., Rial, W. Y., & Rickeis, K. (1974). Short form of depression inventory: Cross-validation.Psychological Reports, 34, 1184–1186.

  7. Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. J., & Emery, G. (1979).Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford.

  8. Beck, A. T., Steer, R. A., & Garbin, M. G. (1988). Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation.Clinical Psychology Review, 8, 77–100.

  9. Beck, A. T., Ward, C. H., Mendelson, M., Mock, J., & Erbaugh, J. (1961). An inventory for measuring depression.Archives of General Psychiatry, 4, 561–571.

  10. Bernard, M., & DiGuiseppe, R. (Eds.). (1990). Rational-emotive therapy and school psychology.School Psychology Review, 19, 267–330.

  11. Bernard, M., & Joyce, M. R. (1984).Rational-emotive therapy with children and adolescents: Theory, treatment strategies, preventative methods. New York: John Wiley.

  12. Brown, R. T. (1986). Response to commentary: Long-term treatment with ADD children: A call for more research.Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 7(3), 173–174.

  13. Cantwell, D. P. (1986). Attention deficit disorders in adolescents.Clinical Psychology Review, 6, 237–247.

  14. Chee, P., & Logan, G. (1989). Effects of event rate and display time on sustained attention in hyperactive, normal, and control children.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 17(4), 371–391.

  15. Cobb, N. J. (1992). Atypical development in adolescence.Adolescence: Continuity, change and diversity (pp. 485–523). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing.

  16. Duggan, E. (1990). An evaluation of the You Can Do It! Motivational program. Unpublished Master's thesis. University of Melbourne.

  17. Ellis, A. (1962).Reason and emotion in psychotherapy. New York: Lyle Stuart.

  18. Ellis, A. (1971).Growth through reason. North Hollywood, CA: Wilshire Books.

  19. Ellis, A. (1988).How to stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable about anything, yes anything. Secaucus, N.J.: Lyle Stuart.

  20. Ellis, A. (1990). The basic practice of RET. In W. Dryden (Ed.),The essential Albert Ellis: Seminal writings on psychotherapy, (pp. 145–183). New York: Springer Publishing.

  21. Gardner, W., & Cole, C. (1987). Conduct disorders. In C. Frame & J. Matson (Eds.),Handbook of assessment in childhood psychopathology. New York: Plenum.

  22. Gould, J. (1982). A psychometric investigation of the standard and short form Beck Depression Inventory.Psychological Reports, 51, 1167–1170.

  23. Jones, R. G. (1969). A factored measure of Ellis' irrational belief system, with personality and maladjustment correlates. (Doctoral dissertation, Texas Technical College, 1968).Dissertation Abstracts International, 69, 6443.

  24. Lohr, J. M., & Bonge, D. (1982). The factorial validity of the Irrational Beliefs Test: A psychometric investigation.Cognitive Therapy and Research, 6, 225–230.

  25. Mash, E., & Terdal, L. (1988).Behavioral assessment of childhood disorders (2nd Ed.). New York: Guilford.

  26. Meyer, R. G. (1989).Cases in developmental psychology and psychopathology. New York: Allyn and Bacon.

  27. Milich, R., & Widiger, T. A. (1987). Differential diagnosis of attention deficit and conduct disorders using conditional probabilities. Special Issue: Eating disorders.Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 55(5), 762–767.

  28. Moffitt, T. E. (1990). Juvenile delinquency and attention deficit disorder boys: Boys' developmental trajectories from age 3 to 15.Child Development, 61(3), 893–910.

  29. Morris, G. B. (1992). [Anger management program: Juvenile delinquents and prison inmates]. Unpublished raw data.

  30. Quay, H. (Ed.). (1987).Handbook of juvenile delinquency. New York: John Wiley.

  31. Rapport, M., Stoner, G., DuPaul, G., & Kelley, K. (1988). Attention deficit disorder and methylphenidate.Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 27, 60–69.

  32. Reynolds, W. M., & Gould, J. W. (1981). A psychometric investigation of the standard and short form Beck Depression Inventory.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 49(2), 306–307.

  33. Ruth, W. J. (1992). Irrational thinking in humans: An evolutionary proposal for Ellis' Genetic Postulate.Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive Behavior Therapy, 10(1), 3–20.

  34. Schachar, R. J., & Wachsmuth, R. (1991). Family dysfunction and psychosocial adversity: Comparison of attention disorder, conduct disorder, normal and clinical controls.Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 23(3), 332–348.

  35. Shapiro, S., & Garfinkel, B. (1986). The occurrence of behavior disorders in children: The interdependence of attention deficit disorder and conduct disorder.Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 6, 809–819.

  36. Smith, T. W. (1982). Irrational beliefs in the cause and treatment of emotional distress: A critical review of the rational-emotive model.Clinical Psychology Review, 2, 505–522.

  37. Spielberger, C. D., Jacobs, G., Russell, S., & Crane, R. S. (1983). Assessment of Anger: The State-Trait Anger Scale. In J. N. Butcher & C. D. Spielberger (Eds.),Advances in personal assessment (vol. 2, pp. 161–189). Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  38. Szatmari, P., & Boyle, M. H. (1989). ADDH and conduct disorder: Degree of diagnostic overlap and differences among correlates.Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 28(6), 865–872.

  39. Taylor, E. A., & Everitt, B. (1986). Conduct disorder and hyperactivity: A cluster analytic approach to the identification of a behavioral syndrome.British Journal of Psychiatry, 149, 768–777.

  40. Trexler, L. D., & Karst, T. O. (1973). Further validation for a new measure of irrational cognitions.Journal of Personality Assessment, 37(2), 150–155.

  41. Weiner, I. B. (1980). Psychopathology in adolescence. In J. Adelson (Ed.),Handbook of adolescent psychology. New York: Wiley.

  42. Whalen, C. K., & Henker, B. (1991). Therapies for hyperactive children: Comparisons, combinations and compromises.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 59(1), 126–137.

  43. Whalen, C. K., & Henker, B. (1985). Cognitive-behavioral therapies for hyperactive children: Premises, problems, and prospects. Special Issue: Cognitive-behavior modification with children: A critical review of the state-of-the-art.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 13(3), 391–410.

  44. Woods, P. J. (1984). Further indications on the validity and usefulness of the Jones Irrational Beliefs Test.Journal of Rational Emotive Therapy, 2(2), 3–6.

  45. Woods, P. J. (1992). A study of “belief” and “non-belief” items from the Jones Irrational Beliefs Test with implications for the theory of RET.Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 10(1), 41–52.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to G. Barry Morris Ph.D..

Additional information

G. Barry Morris Ph.D., is Director of the Canadian Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy. He is a Fellow and training supervisor in Rational-Emotive Therapy, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan, a licensed psychologist, and is engaged in private practice.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Morris, G.B. A Rational-Emotive Treatment program with conduct disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder adolescents. J Rational-Emot Cognitive-Behav Ther 11, 123–134 (1993).

Download citation


  • Treatment Program
  • Distinguishing Characteristic
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Methylphenidate
  • Discriminant Function