Why Psychologists Need to Base Treatment Recommendations on Scientific Evidence. Methodologies for Intervening with Disruptive Adolescents

Author: Flynn, Brian and Sonja Hershfeld and Keith Topping
This book describes research that sought to clarify if the professional practice of educational/school psychologists is evidence-based when recommending interventions for disruptive adolescents who are diagnosed as seriously emotionally disturbed. Two lines of investigation were employed. First, a literature search using three distinct methodologies - a systematic literature review, a meta-analysis of studies and a best evidence synthesis. Second, a survey of a large sample of school psychologists. All aspects of the literature search confirmed that the current research on effective treatments for seriously emotionally disturbed adolescents is extremely limited.


“Overall this draft provides much needed data and discussion in an area of educational provision where too much is taken for granted. In particular the focus on the role and work of educational psychologist in relation to young people with ‘severe emotional disturbance’ is one which is long overdue and about which little has been written. – Dr. John Visser, University of Birmingham

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
Foreword by Dr. Tom McIntyre
Introduction: Using the Evidence Base to Improve
Chapter 1: Practice and Policy
Evidence-based practice
Reviewing the Evidence
Implications for Education and School Psychology
Original Contribution to Knowledge
Operational Definitions
Definition of Adolescence
Definition of Serious Emotional Disturbance
Detailed Research Questions
Outline of Contents
Finding the Evidence Base: A Review of the Literature
Chapter 2: Search Parameters and Review Methods
Data Evaluation
Individual Counselling
Family Counselling
Group Counselling
Behaviour Modification
Self-Monitoring & Self-Management
Social Skills Training
Peer Mediated Interventions
Teacher Consultation
Wraparound Planning & Multi-systemic Therapy
Note on Psychopharmacological Intervention Conclusion
Chapter 3: A Meta-Analysis and Best- Evidence
Synthesis of Interventions
What is Meta-analysis?
What is an Effect Size?
Results of Meta-Analysis
Best-Evidence Synthesis
Criteria for Best-Evidence Synthesis
Results of Best-Evidence Synthesis
Discussion of Meta-analytic Review and Best- Evidence Synthesis
Use of the Evidence Base in Public School System Chapter 4: A Survey Of School Psychologists
The Survey
Design of the Survey
Survey Sample
Content of Survey Questionnaire
Data Analysis
Demographic Information
Professional Opinion
Personal Working Practice
Key Findings of the Survey
Successfully Developing Independence Chapter 5: Self-Management And Self-Monitoring
Self-management and self-monitoring
Best evidence self-management and self-monitoring techniques
Classroom self-monitoring procedures (contingency management planning)
Classroom self-monitoring procedures (cognitive- based)
Assessment of change in a student
Teaching Generalization
Teacher training
Chapter 6: Bridging The Gap: Evidence-Based And Non- Evidence Based Interventions
Scientist-practitioner or practitioner-scientist?
What is “evidence”?
Evidence-based interventions
Non-evidence-based interventions
Innovative interventions
Implementation of interventions
Training for educational/school psychologists
Chapter 7: Our Answers to the Research Questions
Conclusions drawn from the review of the literature
Conclusions drawn from our meta-analysis and best evidence synthesis
Conclusions about the use of empirical evidence by school psychologists
General Findings
Implementing interventions for disruptive
Chapter 8: adolescents: The role of the educational / school
psychologist and other professionals
Role of the educational/school psychologist
Knowledge base of the school psychologist in the past quarter century
The school psychologist and seriously emotionally disturbed adolescents
Future role of the school psychologist
Chapter 9: Implications for Researchers: The Way Forward
Face value criticisms
Evaluating research studies
Quasi-scientific and populist evidence
Evidence drawn from related sources
Survey research
Prevention and identifying risk factors
Ways forward
Implications For Practitioners And Policy Makers:
Chapter 10: . . .A Blueprint To Improve Service Delivery
The impact of our research work on current practice and policy
Changing existing policy to improve practice and service delivery
Future directions
4.1 Survey questionnaire
5.1 Functional behavioural assessment report
6.1 Psychiatric assessment
Subject Index
Author Index