BOX 6-4

Strengthening Families Program and Adaptations: Adolescent Parenting Interventions

Both the Strengthening Families Program (SFP) and the Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10-14 (SFP 10-14), a video-based adaptation of the original SFP program, help families develop the skills, values, goals, and interaction patterns needed to avoid substance use and other problem behaviors. Spoth and colleagues evaluated SFP 10-14 in two randomized controlled trials involving white, rural families of sixth grade students. Subsequent analyses indicate significant effects on reducing substance use (Spoth, Redmond, and Lepper, 1999; Trudeau, Spoth, et al., 2007; Spoth, Clair, et al., 2006) and, to some extent, delinquent behavior (Spoth, Redmond, and Shin, 2000) and internalizing disorders (Trudeau, Spoth, 2007). Spoth and colleagues conclude that the program had its impact by changing parent–child interaction patterns. Two analyses have concluded that the benefits of the program exceed its costs (Aos, Lieb, et al., 2004; Spoth, Guyll, and Day, 2002).

Recent analyses of the impact on academic performance found that involvement in the program contributed to increased engagement in academic activities in eighth grade, which was in turn predictive of academic success in 12th grade (Spoth, Randall, and Shin, 2008). Spoth, Shin, and colleagues (2006) found that the significant reduction in initiation of both alcohol use and illicit drug use for SFP 10-14 participants did not differ as a function of the risk status of the family. Other longitudinal studies of SFP 10-14 are under way.

SFP has been tested in diverse ethnic communities (Kumpfer, Alvarado, et al., 2002). Mixed results have been found (Fox, Gottfredson, et al., 2004). However, a randomized controlled trial of an adaptation of SFP 10-14 for rural African American populations, the Strong African American Families Program, demonstrated significant reductions in conduct problems among at-risk groups and improvements in parenting, with indications that parenting improvements had a partial mediating effect (Brody, Kogan, et al., 2008).

Several interventions target HIV risk reduction. Like other parent-oriented interventions, they focus on improving parent–child communication and supportive parental behaviors and increasing parental monitoring and limit setting. Although no meta-analyses have been conducted for these programs, a growing body of evidence is available for such interventions (Krauss, Goldsamt, and Bula, 1997; Wills, Gibbons, et al., 2003), with some emphasis on minority populations at greater risk (Brody, Dorsey, et al., 2002; Murry, Brody, et al., 2005; Wills, Murry, et al., 2007; Jemmott, Jemmott, et al., 2005). Some interventions have targeted and successfully reduced both early sexual intercourse and substance use (McKay, Bannon, et al., 2007; Prado, Pantin, et al., 2007).

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