Project: Research project

Project Details


The current research investigates the effectiveness of a 16-
session family therapy with adolescent substance abusers and
their families. This competing continuation proposal seeks funds
to complete this project, which has been operational since July 1,
1985. Funding was recommended for the first two of the proposed
five years in order that feasibility in the areas of recruitment,
random assignment and treatment might be demonstrated. We
have been successful in these areas. The project is recruiting,
randomly assigning, and treating subjects at several San Francisco
Bay Area sites.

Specifically, this study compares Structural-Strategic family
therapy (SSFT) with a Multi-Family Education approach, and
Group Therapy. Subjects are randomly assigned to one of these
conditions, and after attrition, data will be collected on a total of
150 families (50 in each condition). Each treatment has a total
time of 16 hours and all project providers have comparable levels
of experience. Each category of treatment provider received
structured training, and ongoing supervision, in their treatment

Instrumentation includes biochemical (urinalysis), self-report,
perception of other, and family interaction tasks to measure
change in individual, subsystem and family functioning. There are
five assessment points: pre, during (for the adolescent's
urinalysis), post treatment, and at 6 months, one, and two years
after treatment. All three experimental conditions aim to
ameliorate the symptom of drug abuse and prevent drug use in the
younger sibling. A key assumption of SSFT is that a change in
family functioning yields a positive change with the adolescent's
substance abuse and reduces the younger siblings' substance abuse

The study includes a comparison sample of 50 non-clinical
families with adolescents to allow a precise comparison of
individual and interactional differences between families who
have an adolescent substance abuser and those who do not. A
multiple regression data analytic strategy will be employed: slope
analyses will be computed in order to test the effects of the three
experimental conditions. MANOVA will be used to test whether
and how families of adolescent drug abusers differ from the non-
clinical, comparison group.
Effective start/end date12/31/893/31/92


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


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