Thursday, May 30, 2019
Seacliff A (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Prior research that had found iatrogenic effects for group delivery formats for preventive intervention for antisocial youth led to a recent study comparing group versus individual delivery of one cognitive-behavioral intervention (child component of Coping Power) to 360 preadolescent children screened by teachers for higher levels of aggressive behavior. While both formats (Group CP and Individual CP) led to significantly decreased externalizing behavior problems according to parent and teacher reports through a one-year follow-up, at-risk children seen individually had significantly greater decreases in teacher-rated externalizing behavior than did similar children seen in small groups (Lochman, Dishion, Powell, Boxmeyer, Qu, & Sallee, 2015). This one-year outcome effect has been found to be moderated by children’s emotional dysregulation, indexed by static baseline autonomous nervous system functioning (ANS; Glenn et al., in press), and by children’s social orientation and bonding, indexed by an Oxytocin receptor gene SNP (Glenn et al., 2018). The planned presentation will use newly-available longer-term outcome data to explore how the arms of the central nervous system, which conceptually are linked to poor regulation of arousal, and the oxytocin receptor gene SNP, may interact with group versus individual delivery of intervention to affect youths’ aggression and anxiety four years later, at the end of 9th grade. Three-level growth model analyses (time at level 1, individuals at level 2, intervention unit at level 3) were conducted across 5 time-points for the longer-term outcomes. Children’s pre-intervention emotion regulation continued to affect longer-term outcomes, as children with high SCL reactivity had greater declines in slopes of teacher-rated reactive aggression if they were seen individually than if they were seen in groups; an opposite pattern was evident for low SCL reactivity. Children with high RSA reactivity had greater declines in slopes of teacher-rated anxiety if children were seen individually in groups instead of in groups. This pattern of ANS findings suggests that sympathetic nervous system function was predictive of aggression behavior over time, while parasympathetic reactivity was predictive of anxiety. Results also indicate that children who are most prone to social bonding (GG allele on the oxytocin SNP) have lower rates of aggressive behavior and less anxiety at long-term follow-up if they were seen individually rather in groups. These findings have implications for identifying characteristics of children least likely to profit, based on longer-term outcomes, from typical group-based cognitive-behavioral intervention formats.