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An Outcome-Based Evaluation of Functional Family Therapy for Youth with Behavioral Problems

NCJ Number
Date Published
14 pages

The authors report on an evaluation of a clinical family therapy intervention program for juveniles who are considered at-risk, which seeks to address those youths’ behavioral problems enhancing support and communication within the family.


This article presents results of an evaluation of Functional Family Therapy (FFT), an intervention implemented to address the behavioral problems of at-risk youth in the state of New Jersey. FFT is a model clinical family intervention designed to assist adolescents and their families in preventing further delinquency and violent behavior by enhancing support and communication within the family. The authors employed a pre-post comparison group design to compare intervention outcomes for youth who received FFT with matched youth who received individual therapy or mentoring. The dependent variable was a change in the risk and protective factors for both youth and their parents, as derived from the Strengths and Needs Assessment (SNA) tool. Although the analysis reveals significant positive improvements in a few domains for both the treatment and the comparison group, only youth who received FFT exhibited a significant reduction in emotional and behavioral needs and risk behaviors. The effectiveness of the intervention may vary by gender, race, age, and ethnicity. The authors present recommendations for policy and future research. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2013