Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Psychology (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Tamara Del Vecchio

Second Advisor

Lauren Moskowitz

Third Advisor

Mark Terjesen


Early childhood consists of important developmental milestones, including the acquisition of daily living skills, including toileting, feeding, and sleep. While previous reviews have focused on interventions for some childhood problems, no single study has broadly assessed interventions across common presenting problems in children ages 0-5. This study systematically reviewed 41 studies on interventions for externalizing (23 studies), internalizing (3), sleep (11), feeding (3), and toileting (1) using meta-analytic methods where applicable. Overall, externalizing interventions were effective (TX1 Hedges' g = -.60; TX2 g = -.51) and largely homogeneous. Individual interventions reduced externalizing behaviors more than group or self-guided interventions (TX1 only). Internalizing studies were all randomized controlled trials aiming to reduce symptoms of anxiety and behavioral inhibition (g = -0.06, g = -.63, g = - 3.470). There was significant heterogeneity in sleep studies (TX1 g = 0.41; TX2 g = 0.46). Moderators reducing heterogeneity for sleep studies included eligibility and universality. Behaviorally-based interventions in sleep studies were more efficacious than psychoeducational interventions alone. Intervention modalities varied across feeding studies, producing small to moderate improvements (g =.13 to .69). The one toileting study found small effects favoring daytime alarms over timed potty training (g = .06). Results suggest efficacy varies by target behavior and intervention factors like format and eligibility criteria.

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Psychology Commons