This trial studied the effectiveness of brief strategic family therapy (BSFT; an evidence-based family therapy) compared to treatment as usual (TAU) as provided in community-based adolescent outpatient drug abuse programs and found no overall differences between conditions in the trajectories of self-reports of adolescent drug use.
This study aiming to determine the effectiveness of brief strategic family therapy (BSFT; an evidence-based family therapy) compared to treatment as usual (TAU) as provided in community-based adolescent outpatient drug abuse programs found no overall differences between conditions in the trajectories of self-reports of adolescent drug use. The method was a randomized effectiveness trial in the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network compared BSFT to TAU with a multiethnic sample of adolescents (213 Hispanic, 148 White, and 110 Black) referred for drug abuse treatment at 8 community treatment agencies nationwide. Randomization encompassed both adolescents' families (n = 480) and the agency therapists (n = 49) who provided either TAU or BSFT services. The primary outcome was adolescent drug use, assessed monthly via adolescent self-report and urinalysis for up to 1 year post randomization. Secondary outcomes included treatment engagement (≥2 sessions), retention (≥8 sessions), and participants' reports of family functioning 4, 8, and 12 months following randomization. However, the median number of days of self-reported drug use was significantly higher than BSFT at the final observation point. BSFT was significantly more effective than TAU in engaging and retaining family members in treatment and in improving parent reports of family functioning. This paper discusses challenges in treatment implementation in community settings and provides recommendations for further research. (Published Abstract Provided)
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