Adolescence is a period of more independent decision making and risk taking, when the role of parents remains significant but is matched by the influence of peers. Preventive interventions during this stage of development are typically delivered directly to adolescents through schools, and these are discussed later in this chapter.
Some treatment interventions show positive effects for families with adolescents displaying considerable antisocial behavior or substance use. For example, multisystemic therapy (e.g., Henggeler, Clingempeel, et al., 2002) and multidimensional treatment foster care (e.g., Fisher and Chamberlain, 2000) have both demonstrated the benefits of comprehensive approaches to improving caregivers’ monitoring and limit setting, as well as positive reinforcement and support of prosocial behavior. These benefits include reduced escalation of antisocial behavior and substance use. These interventions are based on the same principles of effective parenting as the interventions discussed above and may be adaptable for prevention. Parental monitoring can also reduce adolescent alcohol use (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2003).
A growing body of research points to the period between age 21, generally viewed as the end of adolescence, and age 25 as a notable developmental phase in the transition to adulthood (Furstenberg, Kennedy, et al., 2003). These young adults face unique challenges involving the transition to and from college or full-time jobs (including the military), formation of marriage and families, and assumption of increasingly more responsible roles. At the same time, many of these young adults are living at or returning home for long periods of time, increasing the potential role of parents and other family members. Yet little research has been done on family-oriented interventions during this developmental phase.
Some environments in which young people live introduce new factors that may affect their mental, emotional, and behavioral health, such as the presence of binge drinking and pressures to drink on college campuses. Preliminary evidence suggests that parents can decrease tendencies to drink excessively and alter perceptions about drinking by talking about binge drinking prior to their child’s departure for college (Turrisi, Jaccard, et al., 2001).
For young adults who enter the military, exposure to combat and serious trauma can have severe mental, emotional, and behavioral consequences. Some of the service branches and other groups are undertaking efforts to deal with such stressors (Saltzman, Babayon, et al., 2008). Many