This study tested whether use of family therapy (FT) techniques predicted long-term clinical outcomes in usual care for adolescents enrolled in either family-based or non-family-based treatment for conduct and substance use problems.
Participants included 70 adolescents (53% female; mean age 15.4 years) from diverse backgrounds (64% Hispanic, 16% African American, 11% multiracial) assessed at baseline and 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up. Utilization of FT techniques was assessed for 802 therapy sessions via a therapist-report tool that collected postsession data on delivery of core treatment techniques of the FT approach.
Latent growth curve modeling was used to examine individual change over 12-month follow-up. FT technique scores, averaged across treatment sessions, were included as a predictor in latent growth models, controlling for adolescent age, sex, and ethnicity. More extensive use of core FT techniques predicted significant decreases in adolescent-reported delinquency and externalizing behavior and marginal decreases in substance use and parent-reported externalizing for cases in both family and nonfamily treatment.
Greater use of FT techniques in routine care was associated with better long-term adolescent outcomes, regardless of whether clients attended services featuring family therapy or an alternative treatment approach. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
J Consult Clin Psychol. 2019 Mar. doi: 10.1037/ccp0000376.