Parent management training has demonstrated effectiveness in the treatment of child behavioural issues and associated conduct difficulties. Anger, aggression, and irritability are common symptoms amongst children presenting with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Currently, there are no well-established evidence-based interventions for children presenting with symptoms of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. This pilot study aims to assess if a standard, well-established, parent management training program (group Triple P) may be effective in addressing disruptive mood dysregulation disorder symptoms. Thirteen parents of children who presented with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder or subthreshold symptoms completed the Triple P behavioural management program (Level 4). Post-treatment, parents reported no significant change on childhood irritability. However, parents noted significant improvement on child overt aggression, behavioural difficulties and an increase in child pro-social behaviours. Despite the many limitations inherent in this pilot study, results suggest that standard parent management training may be useful in addressing overt aggression but not irritability.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Bor, W., Sanders, M. R., & Markie-Dadds, C. (2002). The effects of the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program on preschool children with co-occurring disruptive behavior and attentional/hyperactive difficulties. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30(6), 571–587.
Brotman, M. A., Kircanski, K., & Leibenluft, E. (2017). Irritability in children and adolescents. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 13, 317–341.
Brotman, M. A., Schmajuk, M., Rich, B. A., Dickstein, D. P., Guyer, A. E., Costello, E. J., et al. (2006). Prevalence, clinical correlates, and longitudinal course of severe mood dysregulation in children. Biological Psychiatry, 60(9), 991–997.
Derella, O. J., Burke, J. D., Romano-Verthelyi, A. M., Butler, E. J., & Johnston, O. G. (2020). Feasibility and acceptability of a brief cognitive-behavioral group intervention for chronic irritability in youth. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 25, 778–789.
Dickstein, D. P., Rich, B. A., Binstock, A. B., Pradella, A. G., Towbin, K. E., Pine, D. S., & Leibenluft, E. (2005). Co-morbid anxiety in phenotypes of paediatric bipolar disorder. Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 15(4), 534–548.
Dougherty, L. R., Smith, V. C., Bufferd, S. J., Carlson, G. A., Stringaris, A., Leibenluft, E., & Klein, D. N. (2014). DSM-5 disruptive mood dysregulation disorder: Correlates and predictors in young children. Psychological Medicine, 44, 2339–2350.
Evans, S. C., Weisz, J. R., Carvalho, A. C., Garibaldi, P. M., Bearman, S. K., & Chorpita, B. F. (2020). Effects of standard and modular psychotherapies in the treatment of youth with severe irritability. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 88, 255–268.
Furlong, M., McGilloway, S., Bywater, T., Hutchings, J., Smith, S. M., & Donnelly, M. (2013). Behavioural and cognitive-behavioural group-based parenting programs for early-onset conduct problems in children aged 3 to 12 years. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, CD008225
GNU Project. (2015). GNU PSPP (Version 0.8.5) Computer Software. Free Software Foundation, Boston, MA.
Goodman, R. (2001). Psychometric properties of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40, 1337–1345.
Hawks, J. L., Kennedy, S. M., Holzman, J. B. W., & Ehrenreich-May, J. (2020). Development and application of an innovative transdiagnostic treatment approach for paediatric irritability. Behavior Therapy, 51, 334–349.
Julious, S. A. (2005). Sample size of 12 per group rule of thumb for a pilot study. Pharmaceutical Statistics: The Journal of Applied Statistics in the Pharmaceutical Industry, 4(4), 287–291.
Kircanski, K., Clayton, M. E., Leibenluft, E., & Brotman, M. A. (2018). Psychosocial treatment of irritability in youth. Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry, 5, 129–140.
Perepletchikova, F., Nathanson, D., Axelrod, S. R., Merrill, C., Walker, A., Grossman, M., et al. (2017). Randomized clinical trial of dialectical behaviour therapy for preadolescent children with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder: Feasibility and outcomes. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 56, 832–840.
Sanders, M. R. (1999). Triple P-Positive Parenting Program: Towards an empirically validated multilevel parenting and family support strategy for the prevention of behaviour and emotional problems in children. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 2, 71–90.
Sanders, M. R., Kirby, J. N., Tellegen, C. L., & Day, J. J. (2014). The Triple P-Positive Parenting Program: A systematic review and meta-analysis of a multi-level system of parenting support. Clinical Psychology Review, 34, 337–357.
Stringaris, A., Goodman, R., Ferdinando, S., Razdan, V., Muhrer, E., Leibenluft, E., & Brotman, M. A. (2012). The Affective Reactivity Index: A concise irritability scale for clinical and research settings. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53, 1109–1117.
Stringaris, A., & Taylor, E. (2015). Disruptive mood. Irritability in children and adolescents. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Stringaris, A., Vidal-Ribas, P., Brotman, M. A., & Leibenluft, E. (2018). Practitioner review: Definition, recognition, and treatment challenges of irritability in young people. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 59, 721–739.
Sukhodolsky, D. G., & Scahill, L. (2012). Cognitive-behavioural therapy for anger and aggression in children. New York: Guilford Press.
Tarren-Sweeney, M. (2013). The Brief Assessment Checklists (BAC-C, BAC-A): Mental health screening measures for school-aged children and adolescents in foster, kinship, residential and adoptive care. Child and Youth Services Review, 35, 71–779.
Van Teijlingen, E., & Hundley, V. (2002). The importance of pilot studies. Nursing Standard (through 2013), 16(40), 33.
Waxmonsky, J. G., Waschbusch, D. A., Belin, P., Li, T., Babocsai, L., Humphery, H., et al. (2016). A randomized clinical trial of an integrative group therapy for children with severe mood dysregulation. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55, 196–207.
Yudofsky, S. C., Silver, J. M., Jackson, W., Endicott, J., & Williams, D. (1986). The Overt Aggression Scale for the objective rating of verbal and physical aggression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 143, 35–39.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) provided ethical approval for this study and authors’ research conduct was compliant with the ethical principles of the organisation.
All participants in this study provided informed consent for their involvement.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Byrne, G., Connon, G. The Use of Standard Parenting Management Training in Addressing Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder: A Pilot Study. J Contemp Psychother 51, 259–263 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10879-021-09489-5
- Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
- Parent management training
- Overt aggression
- Triple P