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Efficacy of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment and Fire Safety Education for Children Who Set Fires: Initial and Follow-up Outcomes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 March 2001

David J. Kolko
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, U.S.A.
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The efficacy of cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) and fire safety education (FSE) for children who had set a recent fire was evaluated. Assessments were conducted with 38 children who were randomly assigned to CBT or FSE and with another 16 children who received a brief intervention (home visit from a firefighter or HVF) that paralleled routine services. Measures in four domains related to the child's fire history were obtained from children and their parents at pre-treatment, post-assessment, and 1-year follow-up. There were several improvements at post-treatment for all conditions on measures of fire involvement, interest, and risk. However, CBT and FSE were more efficacious than HVF on certain measures, including the frequency of firesetting and proportion of children playing with matches, severity of individualized problems with fire, and involvement in fire-related acts and other deviant fire activities. These and other group differences, along with certain time effects, were evident at 1-year follow-up. The findings from this initial comparison study are discussed in the context of needed clinical and research directions for work with firesetters and their families.

© 2001 Association for Child Psychology and Psychiatry

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