Researcher Finds that Internet-based Treatment of Childhood Problem is Effective (UVA Press Release)

December 1, 2003 by sa4fa@virginia.edu

Most parents know the relief that comes once their child is fully potty trained. However, for a small segment of the population, some children begin having bowel accidents again and others never complete the toilet training process. In the United States, it is estimated that as many as seven percent of children ages six to 12 are affected by encopresis, a condition where children older than four are unable to control their bowels. For this segment of the population, research at the University of Health System has found that the Internet can be an effective source for parents seeking to help their children eliminate these accidents.

Lee Ritterband, assistant professor of behavioral medicine at the U.Va., was the lead author of a multi-centered study, which found that an Internet intervention may be very effective at helping children reduce or eliminate bowel accidents from the comfort of one’s own home. The results are published in a recent edition of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

“This research is important because it not only promotes an alternative treatment approach for parents of encopretic children, but it also shows how technology can have a place in treating conditions in certain types of patients,” Ritterband said.

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