Randomized trial of a parent intervention: parents can make a difference in long-term adolescent risk behaviors, perceptions, and knowledge

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004 Oct;158(10):947-55. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.158.10.947.


Background: Although numerous interventions have been demonstrated to reduce targeted adolescent risk behaviors for brief periods, sustained behavior changes covering multiple risk behaviors have been elusive.

Objective: To determine whether a parental monitoring intervention (Informed Parents and Children Together [ImPACT]) with and without boosters can further reduce adolescent truancy, substance abuse, and sexual risk behaviors and can alter related perceptions 24 months after intervention among youth who have all received an adolescent risk-reduction intervention, Focus on Kids (FOK).

Design: Randomized, controlled, 3-celled longitudinal trial.

Setting: Thirty-five low-income, urban community sites.

Participants: Eight hundred seventeen African American youth aged 13 to 16 at baseline. Intervention All youth participated in FOK, an 8-session, theory-based, small group, face-to-face risk-reduction intervention, 496 youth and parents received the 1-session ImPACT intervention (a videotape and discussion), 238 of the ImPACT youth also received four 90-minute FOK boosters delivered in small groups.

Main outcome measures: Responses at baseline and 24 months after intervention to a questionnaire assessing risk and protective behaviors and perceptions. Analyses used General Linear Modeling, intraclass correlation coefficient, analysis of covariance, and multiple comparisons with least significant difference test adjustment.

Results: After adjusting for the intraclass correlation coefficient, 6 of 16 risk behaviors were significantly reduced (P< or =.05) among youth receiving ImPACT compared with youth who only received FOK (respectively, mean number of days suspended, 0.65 vs 1.17; carry a bat as a weapon, 4.1% vs 9.6%; smoked cigarettes, 12.5% vs 22.7%; used marijuana, 18.3% vs 26.8%; used other illicit drugs, 1.4% vs 5.6%; and, asked sexual partner if condom always used, 77.9% vs 64.9%). Four of the 7 theory-based subscales reflected significant protective changes among youth who received ImPACT. ImPACT did not produce any significant adverse effects on behaviors or perceptions.

Conclusion: A parent monitoring intervention can significantly broaden and sustain protection beyond that conferred through an adolescent risk-reduction intervention.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Probability
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Population