Parent-based interventions for preventing or reducing adolescent substance use - A systematic literature review

Clin Psychol Rev. 2016 Apr:45:89-101. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2016.02.004. Epub 2016 Mar 23.


Despite the increasing relevance of peers, parents remain important socializing agents for their adolescent children and are therefore promising agents for inclusion in prevention or intervention programs. This systematic review provides an overview of the effectiveness of parent-based programs in preventing, curbing or reducing substance use (i.e. alcohol, tobacco and cannabis) among 10 to 18-year-olds. The databases PubMed, PsychInfo, Eric and Google Scholar were used to identify randomized trials published within the past 12years evaluating effects on adolescent substance use. Of the 653 identified in the first screening, 39 publications dealing with 13 programs were included. Results reveal desirable effects of parenting measures such as rule-setting, monitoring and parent-child communication. There was also some evidence in terms of preventing, curbing or reducing adolescent substance use. However, this appears to depend particularly on the age group of the adolescents in question, the kind of parents included and the intensity of the program. To conclude, the results of this systematic review underline the importance of including parents in programs aiming to impede initiation of substance use or curb or reduce already existing substance use in adolescence.

Keywords: Adolescent; Parent-based intervention; Preadolescent; Substance use; Systematic literature review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*