The effectiveness of assertive training with elderly psychiatric outpatients

Matthew M. Clark, John R. Corbisiero, Mary E. Procidano, Saul A. Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The usefulness of assertive training for elderly psychiatric outpatients was assessed through a quasi-experimental evaluation of a program at a community geriatric facility. Elderly clients are frequently labeled as "untreatable" and are therefore often denied therapeutic treatment. This study is an example of the potential effectiveness of applying treatment techniques which have been developed with younger populations to a geriatric population. Nineteen clients, aged 50-75, participated in the study, either as participants in the assertion training or as members of a no-treatment control group. The assertion training consisted of 14 semi-weekly sessions, with coaching and feedback provided by the therapists. Assertive behaviors were assessed through self-report, role play and staff ratings of adaptive behaviors of clients. Pre-intervention comparisons between the groups along these dimensions were nonsignificant. However, post-test assessment indicated a significant between group difference in self-reported assertiveness-(t(17)=2.69;p<.05). Dependent t-tests indicated that the experimental group became more assertive (t(9)=2.59;p<.05), but the control group did not. Changes as assessed by role play and staff rating did not reach statistical significance. Results which indicate the potential effectiveness of assertive training with this population are discussed in terms of a specificity conceptualization of assertiveness and implications for assertive training with this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-268
Number of pages7
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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