Project: Research project

Project Details


The proposed research project will experimentally test the
effectiveness of an integrated adolescent engagement and family-
oriented therapy modality in the treatment of drug abuse. The
experimental engagement/treatment intervention is based on the
applicants' preliminary studies which demonstrated that the
engagement and treatment strategies were both highly effective
in reducing drug abuse and increasing adolescent and family
functioning in samples of adolescent drug abusers.

The proposed study is significant because it allows for testing the
effects engagement and intervention separately, together, and in
relation to a popular alternative form of therapy, group therapy.
Multiple outcome measures have been incorporated to the
assessment battery. These measures include assessments of
adolescent drug use, engagement into therapy rates, maintenance
in therapy rates, adolescent psychosocial functioning, and family
functioning. Assessments are obtained from different sources
(e.g. adolescent self-reports, parental observational measures,
drug lab test results) thus allowing for broader evaluation

Subjects will consist of 180 Hispanic adolescent (ages 13-18)
polydrug abusers and their families. The experimental design will
involve random assignment to three intervention conditions: (1)
Strategic Structural Systems Therapy (Engagement and Therapy),
(2) Strategic Structural Systems Therapy (without engagement),
and (3) group therapy. Measures will be obtained before therapy
(intake), after therapy (termination), and at two follow-up
periods, nine and eighteen months after termination from therapy.

Three major research questions will be investigated. The first
research question maintaining adolescents in treatment. The
second research question addresses the effect of the therapeutic
modality on drug use reduction, adolescent functioning, and
family functioning. The third research question explores the
relationship between improvement in adolescent and family
Effective start/end date12/31/898/31/91


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse


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