The Effects of Child-Centered Play Therapy on the Behavioral Performance of Elementary School Students with Adhd

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Summer 2015


A single case multiple baseline across participants design was used to investigate the effects of Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) on hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention in three first grade students. Students were referred to the study by classroom teachers using a behavior checklist. After returning informed consent and a demographic survey, parents and teachers filled out the Attention Deficit Disorders Evaluation Scale- Fourth Edition (ADDES-4) to qualify students for the study. Three students who scored in the moderate or severe range from the same classroom were selected for the study. The Direct Observation Form was used to assess behaviors across baseline, treatment, and maintenance conditions by trained observers. Students participated in an average three CCPT sessions each week for 6 weeks, for a total of 18 sessions. Visual inspection and non-parametric measures were used to analyze the effects of CCPT on ADHD behaviors, including (a) level, (b) trend, (c) variability, (d) overlap, (e) immediacy, and (f) consistency. Percentage of Non-Overlapping Data (PND), Percentage Exceeding the Mean (PEM), and Tau-U were used analyze overlap and consistency. Results indicated there was a small effect size for CCPT on ADHD behaviors. Analysis of individual subscales revealed moderate or large effect sizes for increasing time on task and decreasing total problems in the classroom, sluggish cognitive tempo, immature/withdrawn behavior, intrusive behavior, and oppositional behavior in individual participants. The Behavior Intervention Rating Scale was completed out by the teacher post-treatment as a measure of social validity. The teacher indicated that CCPT was an appropriate intervention for students with ADHD, has utility in the school setting, and would recommend CCPT to other teachers. Limitations, suggestions for future research, clinical implications, and conclusions are presented.


Chris Simpson

Subject Categories

Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences