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Program Profile: Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10–14

Evidence Rating: Effective - More than one study Effective - More than one study

Date: This profile was posted on November 17, 2011

Program Summary

This is an adaptation of the Strengthening Families Program. It aims to reduce substance use and behavior problems using improved skills in nurturing and child management by parents and improved interpersonal and personal ones among youths. The program is rated Effective. The program’s impact on improved parenting competencies and reduced students’ substance-related risk in the 6th grade and on increased school engagement in the 8th, led to increased academic success in the 12th.

This program’s rating is based on evidence that includes at least one high-quality randomized controlled trial.

Program Description

Program Goals

Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10–14 (SFP 10–14) is an adaptation of the Strengthening Families Program for parents and their adolescent children. The adapted program aims to reduce substance use and behavior problems during adolescence through improved skills in nurturing and child management by parents and improved interpersonal and personal competencies among youths.

 

Program Components

SFP 10–14 consists of seven 2-hour sessions for parents and youths conducted weekly. The parents and youths attend separate skill-building groups for the first hour and spend the second hour together in supervised family activities. Parent group sessions clarify expectations based on child development norms, teach appropriate disciplinary practices, teach skills on managing strong adolescent emotion, and teach effective communication skills for dealing with their youths. Youth group sessions teach refusal skills for dealing with peer pressure and personal skills such as dealing with stress. During the joint family sessions, families are taught conflict resolution and communication skills. The sessions also involve games and activities designed to increase cohesiveness and introduce positive involvement of the youths in the family. In all sessions, videotaped presentations are used to introduce the topics and form discussions. Additionally, youths are shown 15-minute videotapes that look at dealing with and resisting peer pressure.

 

Four booster sessions are designed to be used 6 months to 1 year after the end of the first seven sessions to reinforce the skills gained in the original sessions. Youth sessions generally concentrate on strengthening goal setting, communication skills, behavior management techniques, and peer pressure. By contrast, parents generally discuss the importance of nurturing while simultaneously setting rules, monitoring compliance, and applying appropriate discipline. Topics include developing appropriate rules, encouraging good behavior, using consequences, building bridges, and protecting against substance abuse.

 

Additional Information

The Strengthening Families Program was formerly called the Iowa Strengthening Families Program.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1

Intervention-Targeted Parent Behaviors

The 2003 Spoth and colleagues study found no significant differences between the groups for intervention-targeted parent behaviors from time 1 to time 2 and from time 2 to time 3.

 

Improvements Related to Family Meetings

Time 1 to time 2 results indicated significant improvement for the intervention group compared with the control group for child participation in family meetings but not for the number of family meetings held. From time 2 to time 3, the intervention group youths participated significantly less than at time 2, and there were no differences related to family meetings.

 

Alcohol-Related Skills

There were no significant differences in alcohol-related areas from time 1 to time 2 and from time 2 to time 3.

 

Intervention-Targeted Child Behaviors

Targeted child behaviors were significantly improved compared with those of the control group from time 1 to time 2. From time 2 to time 3, the control group had significantly decreased child behaviors, and there was no significant difference for the intervention group.

 

Study 2

Substance Abuse

For lifetime use of alcohol, lifetime cigarette use, and lifetime use of marijuana, results from the 2004 Spoth and colleagues study indicated slower overall growth in substance use among youths in the Iowa Strengthening Families Program (ISFP) 10–14 group relative to controls at 6 years following baseline. In addition, an initially lower level of alcohol use without parental permission within the ISFP group relative to controls (along with a slower initial growth period) was followed by a growth rate similar to controls.

 

Study 3

Parenting Competency

The evaluation by Spoth, Randall, and Shin (2008) found the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10–14 (SFP 10–14) program led to a significant increase in parenting competencies.

 

Student Substance-Related Risk

The program led to significant reductions in students’ substance-related risk in the sixth grade.

 

School Engagement

SFP 10–14 indirectly led to a significant increase in school engagement. That is, the direct and positive impacts of the program on parenting competencies and student substance-related risk led to significant increases in school engagement in the eighth grade.

 

Academic Success

Academic success in 12th grade was significantly improved, though indirectly. That is, the program’s impact on improved parenting competencies and reduced students’ substance-related risk in the 6th grade and on increased school engagement in the 8th grade led to increased academic success in the 12th grade.

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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1

Spoth and colleagues (2003) evaluated Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10–14 (SFP 10–14) program that was adapted for an African American sample randomly drawn from an urban site of a large, multisite longitudinal study (Cutrona et al. 2000). The original study used 1990 census data to identify block group areas with 10 percent or more African American residents and 20 percent or more low-income families. Schools identified 507 eligible adolescents in the fourth through sixth grades living in those block areas. A total of 77 percent (390) agreed to participate in the longitudinal study. Of the 348 families who completed the first wave of data collection, Spoth and colleagues randomly selected 200 families who were then randomly assigned to the SFP 10–14 group or a waitlist comparison group. Of these families, 85 (34 from the intervention group and 51 from the comparison group) were successfully contacted by phone, agreed to participate, and provided sufficient data for inclusion in the analyses. The mean age of participants was 10.5 years. Of the primary caregivers, 82.7 percent were the children’s biological mothers, 93.6 percent were female, and the mean age was 38.4 years. The caregivers had an average of 3.5 children.

 

The SFP 10–14 intervention group received a slightly revised program consisting of six rather than seven weekly 2-hour sessions. Content of the regular seventh session was incorporated into the sixth session for this evaluation. The first hour was spent in separate youth and caregiver groups; the second hour consisted of a joint family session. The culturally adapted teaching manuals, program videotapes, promotional videotapes, brochure, and all correspondence to families referred to the project as Harambee (a Swahili word meaning “pulling together”) and included depictions of African American participants and program implementers. The adapted program included all SFP 10–14 content and adhered to the original theoretical principles.

 

Telephone surveys of the self-report questionnaires used in earlier evaluations of SFP were used to collect data from caregivers and youths separately. Study outcomes included intervention-targeted parenting behaviors, number of family meetings, participation of youths in family meetings, parent–child affective quality, alcohol-related peer resistance, intervention-targeted child behaviors, general peer-resistance skills, and alcohol resistance skills.

 

Surveys were administered at three time points: time 1 at the beginning of the large, longitudinal study; time 2 after the intervention; and time 3 after the waitlist control group received the intervention. The groups differed on only one variable at baseline: the intervention group had a smaller average score on intervention-targeted child behaviors than the control group. This difference was addressed in the analyses, which included two sets of repeated-measures analyses of variance.

 

Study 2

Spoth and colleagues (2004) used an experimental design to evaluate the SFP 10–14 program at 33 rural public schools, which were randomly assigned to three groups: the SFP 10–14 (called the Iowa Strengthening Families Program or ISFP), the Preparing for the Drug-Free Years (PDFY), or a minimal-contact control condition. Selected schools were located in rural communities with populations of fewer than 8,500 and a relatively high percentage of low-income families. All families with sixth graders were invited to participate. Of the 1,309 eligible families, 667 completed the pretests (238 ISFP group families, 221 PDFY group families, and 208 control group families).

 

Families in the SFP 10–14 group were provided seven weekly sessions. Fidelity measures were used to ensure high fidelity in program implementation. PDFY group families received five weekly sessions. Families in the control condition received a set of four parenting guidelines written by Cooperative Extension Service personnel.

 

This study analyzed data on substance use 6 years after baseline. Substance use data was taken from the National Survey of Delinquency and Drug Use.

 

Study 3

Spoth, Randall, and Shin (2008) studied the long-term effects of SFP 10–14 on school success. Specifically, this study concentrated on the indirect effects of the intervention on school engagement in 8th grade and academic success in the 12th grade.

 

Participants were drawn from the earlier longitudinal study of families with adolescents in sixth grade at 33 rural schools in the Midwest. Blocked random assignment was used to create three groups: SFP 10–14, the Preparing for the Drug-Free Years, or a minimal-contact control condition. This 2008 study analyzed data from participants at the 22 schools assigned to the SFP 10–14 and control conditions only.

 

Of the 374 families in the two groups who completed the pretest, 308 completed the 6-year follow-up assessments. Of these families, 86 percent were dual-parent families and 98 percent were white. Most of the parents (98 percent of mothers and 95 percent of fathers) completed high school, and more than half reported some post–high school education. Average age was 37.2 years for mothers and 39.4 years for fathers.

 

Academic success was measured using multiple sources, including mother, father, and student reports. School engagement—or the connectedness of a student to the school—was measured by three indicators: an affective indicator (students’ feelings toward school), a cognitive indicator (students’ perceptions or beliefs related to school and self), and a behavioral component (students’ actions such as completing homework). Alcohol use was measured from students’ reports regarding initiation of use, attitudes toward use, and potential response to peer pressure for alcohol use. Four measures of parental competency were used: rules and consequences regarding alcohol use; parental efforts to involve the child in family activities and decisions; parental management of anger and strong emotion in the parent–child relationship; and parental activities to communicate understanding of children’s feeling and goals as well as parental intentions. Intent-to-treat structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data.

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Cost

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The delayed initiation of alcohol use observed when the Iowa Strengthening Families Program intervention participants were in the 6th–10th grades suggests a return of $9.60 per $1.00 invested, concerning the avoidance of alcohol-use disorders alone (Spoth, Guyll, and Day 2002).
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Spoth, Richard L., Max Guyll, Wei Chao, and Virginia K. Molgaard. 2003. “Virginia Molgaard Exploratory Study of a Preventive Intervention With General Population African American Families.” Journal of Early Adolescence 23(4):435–86.

Study 2
Spoth, Richard L., Cleve Redmond, Chungyeol Shin, and Kari Azevedo. 2004. “Brief Family Intervention Effects on Adolescent Substance Initiation: School-Level Growth Curve Analyses 6 Years Following Baseline.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 72(3):535–42.

Study 3
Spoth, Richard L., G. Kevin Randall, and Chungyeol Shin. 2008. “Increasing School Success Through Partnership-Based Family Competency Training: Experimental Study of Long-Term Outcomes.” School Psychology Quarterly 23(1):70–89.


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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Coatsworth, J. Douglas, Larissa G. Duncan, Mark T. Greenberg, and Robert L. Nix. 2010. “Changing Parent’s Mindfulness, Child Management Skills and Relationship Quality With Their Youth: Results From a Randomized Pilot Intervention Trial.” Journal of Child and Family Studies 19:203–17.


Cutrona, Carolyn E., Daniel W. Russell, Robert M. Hessling, P. Adama Brown, and Velma McBride Murry. 2000. “Direct and Moderating Effects of Community Context on the Psychological Well-Being of African American Women.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79:1088–01.

Molgaard, Virginia K., Richard L. Spoth, and Cleve Redmond. 2000. “Competency Training—The Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10–14.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/182208.pdf

Redmond, Cleve, Richard L. Spoth, Chungyeol Shin, and Heidi S. Lepper. 1999. “Modeling Long-Term Parent Outcomes of Two Universal Family-Focused Preventive Interventions: One-Year Follow-Up Results.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 67(6):975–84.

Spoth, Richard L., Scott Clair, and Chungyeol Shin. 2006. “Long-Term Effects of Universal Preventive Interventions on Methamphetamine Use Among Adolescents.” Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (160):876–82.

Spoth, Richard L., Max Guyll, and Susan X. Day. 2002. “Universal Family-Focused Interventions in Alcohol-Use Disorder Prevention: Cost-Effectiveness and Cost–Benefit Analyses of Two Interventions.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol 63:219–28.

Spoth, Richard L., Max Guyll, and Chungyeol Shin. 2009. “Universal Intervention as a Protective Shield Against Exposure to Substance Use: Long-Term Outcomes and Public Health Significance.” American Journal of Public Health 99(11):2026–33.

Spoth, Richard L., Max Guyll, Linda Trudeau, and Catherine J. Goldberg–Lillehoj. 2002. “Two Studies of Proximal Outcomes and Implementation Quality of Universal Preventive Interventions in a Community–University Collaboration Context.” Journal of Community Psychology 30(5):499–518.

Spoth, Richard L., Cleve Redmond, Linda Trudeau, and Chungyeol Shin. 2002. “Longitudinal Substance Initiation Outcomes for a Universal Preventive Intervention Combining Family and School Programs.” Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 16(2):129–34.

Spoth, Richard L., Linda Trudeau, Chungyeol Shin, and Cleve Redmond. 2008. “Long-Term Effects of Universal Preventive Interventions on Prescription Drug Misuse.” Addiction 103:1160–68.

Spoth, Richard L., Linda Trudeau, Chungyeol Shin, and Cleve Redmond. 2009. “Universal Intervention Effects on Substance Use Among Young Adults Mediated by Delayed Adolescent Substance Initiation.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 77(4):620–32.

Trudeau, Linda, Richard L. Spoth, G. Kevin Randall, and Kari Azevedo. 2007. “Longitudinal Effects of a Universal Family-Focused Intervention on Growth Patterns of Adolescent Internalizing Symptoms and Polysubstance Use: Gender Comparisons.” Journal of Youth Adolescence 36:725–40.
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Program Snapshot

Age: 10 - 14, 25 - 62

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, White

Geography: Rural, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting

Program Type: Conflict Resolution/Interpersonal Skills, Family Therapy, Group Therapy, Parent Training, Alcohol and Drug Prevention

Targeted Population: Families

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide, Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development (formerly Blueprints for Violence Prevention)