Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 237–248 | Cite as

Parental judgments of behavior therapy efficacy with autistic children: A social validation

  • Mark A. Runco
  • Laura Schreibman


As a complement to objective measures of treatment effectiveness, behavioral researchers have utilized social validation procedures to gather information from significant others regarding the social importance of behavior changes. The present study represents an attempt to socially validate the efficacy of behavior therapy with autistic children. Thirty-four parents of autistic children and 18 parents of normal children judged (via questionnaire) the behavior of four autistic children before and after behavior therapy. The results indicated that (1) parents socially validated the effects of behavior therapy in that they judged the children as significantly improved after treatment, and (2) the effects of treatment were also socially validated by the parents' indication that they were more willing to interact with the children after treatment than before treatment.


Treatment Effectiveness Behavior Change Objective Measure Behavior Therapy Normal Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anastasi, A.Psychological testing (4th ed.). New York: Macmillan, 1976.Google Scholar
  2. Bogaard, L.Relationship between aggressive behavior in children and parent perception of child behavior. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Oregon, 1976.Google Scholar
  3. Christophersen, E. R., & Rapoff, M. A. Pediatric psychology: An appraisal. In B. B. Lahey & A. E. Kazdin (Eds.),Advances in clinical child psychology, (Vol. 3). New York: Plenum Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  4. Fagot, B. E. Sex differences in toddlers' behavior and parental reaction.Developmental Psychology, 1974,10, 554–558.Google Scholar
  5. Fawcett, S. B., & Miller, L. K. Training public-speaking behavior: An experimental analysis and social validation.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1975,8, 125–136.Google Scholar
  6. Forehand, R., Wells, K. C., & Griest, D. L. An examination of the social validity of a parent training program.Behavior Therapy, 1980,11, 488–502.Google Scholar
  7. Furman, N. Promoting social development: Developmental implications for treatment. In B. B. Lahey & A. E. Kazdin (Eds.),Advances in clinical child psychology (Vol. 3). New York: Plenum Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  8. Gottlieb, J., & Gottlieb, B. W. Stereotypic attitudes and behavior intentions toward handicapped children.American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 1977,82, 65–71.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Gottlieb, J., & Siperstein, G. N. Attitudes toward mentally retarded persons: Effects of attitude referent specificity.American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 1976,80, 376–381.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Graybill, D., & Gabel, H. Relationship of teacher nominations for parent counseling to perception of children's behavior problems.Southern Journal of Educational Research, 1978,12, 151–159.Google Scholar
  11. Griest, D., Wells, K. C., & Forehand, R. An examination of predictors of maternal perceptions of maladjustment in clinic-referred children.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1979,88, 277–281.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Kazdin, A. E. Assessing the clinical or applied importance of behavior change through social validation.Behavior Modification, 1977,1, 427–451.Google Scholar
  13. Kellerman, J., & Katz, E. R. Attitudes towards the division of child-rearing responsibilities.Sex Roles, 1978,4, 505–512.Google Scholar
  14. Lovaas, O. I., Koegel, R. L., Simmons, J. Q., & Long, J. S. Some generalization and follow-up measures on autistic children in behavior therapy.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1973,6, 131–166.Google Scholar
  15. Maloney, D. M., Harper, T. M., Braukmann, C. J., Fixsen, D. L., Phillips, E. L., & Wolf, M. M. Teaching conversation related skills to predelinquent girls.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1976,9, 371.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Margolin, G., & Patterson, G. R. Differential consequences provided by mothers and fathers for their sons and daughters.Developmental Psychology, 1975,11, 537–539.Google Scholar
  17. Mealor, D. J., & Richmond, B. O. Adaptive behavior: Teachers and parents disagree.Exceptional Children, 1980,46, 386–389.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Minkin, M., Braukmann, C. J., Minkin, B. L., Timbers, G. D., Timbers, B. J., Fixsen, D. L., Phillips, E. C., & Wolf, M. M. The social validation and training of conversational skills.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1976,9, 127–139.Google Scholar
  19. Morris, J. D., & Arrant, D. Behavior ratings of emotionally disturbed children by teachers, parents, and school psychologists.Psychology in the Schools, 1978,15, 450–455.Google Scholar
  20. National Society for Autistic Children. National Society for Autistic Children definition of the syndrome of autism.Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 1978,8, 162–167.Google Scholar
  21. Noller, P. Cross-gender effect in two-child families.Developmental Psychology, 1980,16, 159–160.Google Scholar
  22. Patterson, G. R. Mothers: The unacknowledged victims.Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, University of Chicago Press for the Society for Research in Child Development, 1980.Google Scholar
  23. Prout, H. T., Harper, C., Snider, B., & Lindgren, S. Comparisons between mothers' and teachers' evaluations of developmental status.Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 1978,3(2), 57–61.Google Scholar
  24. Rothbart, M. K., & Maccoby, E. E. Parents' differential reactions to sons and daughters.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1966,1, 237–243.Google Scholar
  25. Schopler, E., & Reichler, R. J. How well do parents understand their own psychotic children?Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 1972,2, 387–400.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Schreibman, L., Koegel, R. L., Mills, J. I., & Burke, J. C. Social validation of behavior therapy with autistic children.Behavior Therapy, 1981,12, 610–624.Google Scholar
  27. Schreibman, L., Runco, M. A., Mills, J. I., & Koegel, R. L. Teachers' judgments of improvements in autistic children in behavior therapy: A social validation. In R. L. Koegel, A. Rincover, & A. W. Egel (Eds.),Educating and understanding autistic children. Houston, Texas: College-Hill Press, 1982.Google Scholar
  28. Wolf, M. M. Social validity: The case for subjective measurement or how applied behavior analysis is finding its heart.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1978,11, 203–214.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark A. Runco
    • 1
  • Laura Schreibman
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Claremont Graduate SchoolUSA
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentClaremont McKenna CollegeClaremont

Personalised recommendations