Journal Article

    Randomized Trial of Family Therapy versus Non-Family Treatment for Adolescent Behavior Problems in Usual Care

    Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology

    Published: November 2015

    Objective
    A major focus of implementation science is discovering whether evidence-based approaches can be delivered with fidelity and potency in routine practice. This randomized trial compared usual care family therapy (UC-FT), implemented without a treatment manual or extramural support as the standard-of-care approach in a community clinic, to non-family treatment (UC-Other) for adolescent conduct and substance use disorders.

    Method
    The study recruited 205 adolescents (mean age 15.7 years; 52% male; 59% Hispanic American, 21% African American) from a community referral network, enrolling 63% for primary mental health problems and 37% for primary substance use problems. Clients were randomly assigned to either the UC-FT site or one of five UC-Other sites. Implementation data confirmed that UC-FT showed adherence to the family therapy approach and differentiation from UC-Other. Follow-ups were completed at 3, 6, and 12 months post-baseline.

    Results
    There was no between-group difference in treatment attendance. Both conditions demonstrated improvements in externalizing, internalizing, and delinquency symptoms. However, UC-FT produced greater reductions in youth-reported externalizing and internalizing among the whole sample, in delinquency among substance-using youth, and in alcohol and drug use among substance-using youth. The degree to which UC-FT outperformed UC-Other was consistent with effect sizes from controlled trials of manualized family therapy models.

    Conclusions
    Non-manualized family therapy can be effective for adolescent behavior problems within diverse populations in usual care, and it may be superior to non-family alternatives.

    J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2015 Nov-Dec. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2014.963857.

    CONNECT WITH US

    Sign up to join our community working to end addiction.

    Please leave this field empty

    By entering your email address above you are opting in to receive email communications from Partnership to End Addiction and agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    No, thanks. Take me to the website.