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Families with fighting siblings ages 4-11 sought for Idaho State University Psychology Clinic study

March 4, 2016

POCATELLO – Families with two or more children ages 4-11 who physically fight on a regular basis are sought for the Sibling Aggression Project clinical study being conducted by the Idaho State University Psychology Clinic.

“This research focuses on sibling fighting and exploring ways to help those kids and families manage routine conflicts,” said Stephanie Babbitt M.S., an ISU clinical psychology doctoral student, supervised by Mark Roberts Ph.D., ISU professor of clinical psychology.

“We’re trying to give children strategies other than being physically aggressive to solve their problems,” Babbitt said.

The Sibling Aggression Project will focus on two “evidence-based treatment” strategies for decreasing sibling aggression to try to determine which strategy is more effective. Participants will randomly be assigned one of the two strategies.

The two strategies are based on either a motivational or a skill-building approach.  The motivational approach includes positive reinforcement for inhibiting aggression, as well as fines, and possibly brief timeouts to discourage physical fighting. The skill-building approach teaches and reinforces children to resolve common sibling conflicts (e.g. over possessions, personal space, noncompliance, violation of rights, teasing, etc.)  with thinking and language relevant to the specific dispute.

The initial two evaluation sessions that determine eligibility for the project are free.  Eligible participants will be asked to participate in five treatment sessions and two post-treatment assessment sessions, which must include at least seven weeks of home record data. Participants will receive professional services at reduced fees or no cost.

There will be a $5 or $10 fee per session for the five treatment sessions, depending on family size and income. However, families completing the project will be given a $50 discount credited toward the five clinical sessions, making them free. Normal ISU Psychology Clinic fees are $50 to $300, depending on family size and income.

For those who complete the randomly assigned treatment protocol and the post-treatment assessments, all additional follow-up sessions will be free.  For more information, call the ISU Psychology Clinic, at 208-282-2129 and ask about the Siblings Aggression Project.