Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Christina Adams.


Elevated levels of parent-adolescent conflict have been associated with a number of adolescent problem behaviors. One treatment that appears to be effective in reducing family conflict is Problem Solving Communication Training (PSCT). Research has indicated that PSCT appears to be an effective and acceptable treatment program for reducing parent-adolescent conflict. However, researchers have suggested some possible limitations associated with PSCT treatment. Many of the identified limitations of PSCT potentially may be addressed with the inclusion of a Behavioral Exchange (BE) treatment component. Evidence supporting this hypothesis is provided by the documented success of Behavioral Marital Therapy, a treatment package that uses a similar BE + PSCT procedure as that proposed by this study, for reducing distress experienced by couples. As a result, the purpose of this study was to examine if the combination of BE and PSCT treatment procedure would lead to effective reductions in parent-adolescent conflict. Four parent-adolescent dyads experiencing elevated levels of conflict participated in this investigation. A concurrent, multiple baselines across subjects design was utilized to assess session-by-session use of problem-solving skills, positive communication skills, and negative communication behaviors. Results suggest that the BE + PSCT treatment led to observable improvements in the use of problem-solving and communication skills for all four dyads during weekly discussions of issues frequently associated with parent-adolescent conflict. Furthermore, results indicate that three of the four parent participants and three of the four adolescent participants reported improvements at post-treatment and follow-up in their global distress, problem-solving, and communication skill use. In addition, three of the four families rated themselves satisfied to highly satisfied with the treatment. Unfortunately, the results are less conclusive when examining the discrepancies among participants' self-reports concerning general ratings of conflict and distress, use of problem-solving and communication skills at home, and adherence to irrational or distorted beliefs. Overall, the findings of this study provide preliminary evidence supporting the use of BE + PSCT for reducing parent-adolescent conflict. Directions for future research are suggested.