Disruptive Behavior Disorders Pediatric Research and Clinical Trials

Research & Innovation

Here at Children’s Hospital Boston, we refine our treatment methods through careful analysis of sophisticated scientific data. Our research program is one of the largest and most active of any pediatric hospital in the world, and our research in psychiatry and psychology supports our goal of enhancing mental health care for all children and families.

We continue to work toward critical new insights that can propel advances in preventing, diagnosing and treating behavioral and mental health disorders. Our progress in the laboratory strengthens the exceptional care we provide at each child's bedside.

Among our current research projects with promise for treating disruptive behavior disorders are:

Incorporating mindfulness as a parenting modification strategy
A Children's study examines mindfulness techniques, which combine elements of traditional Buddhist meditation with the practice of consciously reflecting on one’s thoughts. Should these techniques prove useful, they will be added to the parenting modification strategies we teach as part of our family treatment plans for oppositional defiant disorder.

Using a computer game to teach children emotional control
Using advances in neurobiology and computer science, Children's clinicians are designing special interventions to help kids better control their emotions. Psychopharmacology Clinic chief Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, MD, working with colleagues, has developed a computer game called “RAGE-Control (Regulate And Gain Emotional Control).” Using the popular arcade staple “Space Invaders” as a model, RAGE-Control teaches children to simultaneously focus, react, inhibit impulses and keep their heart rate down. The game is now being tested in a clinical trial. Read a Boston Globe article about the game.

Clinical trials

It’s possible that your child will be eligible to participate in one of Boston Children's Hospital's current clinical trials. These studies are useful for a multitude of reasons:

Some trials are designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a particular drug, treatment or therapy on a specific disease; others help doctors to better understand how and why certain conditions occur. At any given time, we have hundreds of clinical trials underway. Of course, your motives as a parent needn’t be entirely altruistic—you’ll naturally want to know how taking part in a trial can immediately benefit your child. If your child’s physician recommends participation in one of Children’s clinical trials, that likely means that your child’s physician believes that the plan outlined in that trial represents the absolute best, latest care your child can possibly receive.

And participation in any clinical trial is completely voluntary: We will take care to fully explain all elements of the treatment plan prior to the start of the trial, and you may remove your child from the medical study at any time.

Find a clinical trial

To search current and upcoming clinical trials at Children’s, go to:

To search the NIH’s list of clinical trials taking place around the world, go to:

Improving mental health care around the world
Learn how Children’s is improving the coordination of psychiatric care for at-risk children and families.

Mental health and genetics

Children’s Hospital Boston led a study that suggests that deprivation and neglect not only can lead to behavioral problems, but may also affect children’s chromosomes and possible shorten life span. Learn more about this research in the Children’s newsroom.