Background: A review of research in the field of children shows that with the expansion and deepening of studies on children, in addition to physical development, their emotional-behavioral development has also received more attention. The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral and Psychodrama on executive functions of children aged 7 to 12 years.
Methods: The research is pretest-posttest quasi-experimental study with control group and follow-up. It was conducted in the second half of 1398 in Avae Mehr Counseling Center in Pasargad (Fars Province, Iran) Available sampling was administered, based on which 24 children registered at the Avae Mehr Pasargad Counseling Center with the diagnosis of externalized disorder and met the necessary criteria participated in the study. The participants were divided into two experimental groups and one control group (8 individuals each). Cognitive-behavioral and Psychodrama therapies were performed for the experimental groups, but the control group did not receive any special intervention. Cognitive-behavioral therapy protocol was performed in 1-hour sessions during 11 consecutive weeks, once a week; and Psychodrama treatment in 1-hour sessions during 12 consecutive weeks, once a week. The research instruments included of executive functions saftware (Stroop word color test, and working memory reinforcement test); and the collected data were analyzed using frequency distribution, mean, standard deviation, analysis of variance, and analysis of covariance in SPSS-25 software.
Results: The results of analysis of covariance by modulating the effect of pre-test in post-test showed that there was a significant difference between the three groups in all variables except reaction time in Stroop test. This means that the groups of cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychotherapy had a significant effect on executive function. The results in the follow-up phase also showed that there was a significant difference between the three groups in all variables except the trial time and the number of errors (in the London Tower test), the incorrect number and the reaction time (in the Stroop test). However, there was no significant difference between the cognitive-behavioral and Psychodrama groups on the variable of executive function, meaning that the two therapies did not have different effects on executive function.
Conclusion: Both of the cognitive-behavioral and Psychodrama treatments have been significantly effective in the improvement of the participants’ executive functioning. This means that the groups of cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychotherapy had a significant effect on executive function. But the effectiveness of these two treatments does not show a significant difference with each other.