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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 873197, 11 pages
Research Article

Neural Rhythms of Change: Long-Term Improvement after Successful Treatment in Children with Disruptive Behavior Problems

1Educational Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
2Applied Psychology and Human Development, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 2J7
3Rotman Research Institute, The Baycrest Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada M6A 2E1
4Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, 6500 HE Nijmegen, Netherlands

Received 9 April 2015; Revised 13 June 2015; Accepted 15 June 2015

Academic Editor: Małgorzata Kossut

Copyright © 2015 Steven Woltering et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neural changes were investigated for children with disruptive behavior problems one year after a treatment program ended. Thirty-nine children and their parents visited the research lab before, after, and a year after treatment ended. During those lab visits, electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded during a challenging Go/No-go task. Treatment consisted of intensive 14-week combined cognitive behavioral therapy and parent management training sessions. For the analysis, participants were divided into long-term improvers (IMPs) and long-term nonimprovers (NIMPs) based on changes in their externalizing problem scores. The results showed early no-go theta power (4–8 Hz, 100–250 ms) decreased for long-term IMPs compared to NIMPs. When participants were divided based on changes in their comorbid internalizing symptoms, effects were stronger and reductions in theta power were found for early as well as later phases (250–650 ms). We provided preliminary evidence that theta power is a useful neural measure to trace behavioral change linked to improved self-regulation even up to a year after treatment ended. Results may have implications for the characterization of children with disruptive behavior problems and may lead to the development of novel markers of treatment success.