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 nonfamily treatment (UC-Other) for adolescent conduct and substance use disorders.
The study recruited 205 adolescents (M 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 postbaseline. 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. Non-manualized family therapy can be effective for adolescent behavior problems within diverse populations in usual care, and it may be superior to nonfamily alternatives. (Published abstract provided)
CrimeSolutions Intervention ID 676