Effects of a brief, parent-focused intervention for substance using adolescents and their sibling

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2017 Jun;77:156-165. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2017.02.002. Epub 2017 Mar 2.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the Family Check-up (FCU), a parent-focused brief motivational intervention, in families where parents were concerned about one adolescent's alcohol or marijuana use and the referred adolescent also had a sibling close in age. The primary goal of the FCU was to provide individualized feedback on specific parenting skills, including monitoring and supervision, limit setting, and alcohol-related communication. A total of 92 adolescents (37 female) between the ages of 12-19years of age along with a sibling (48 female) between the ages of 11-21years old, were randomized to the FCU or a psychoeducation (PE) comparison condition. Findings indicated that the FCU did not produce better effects on alcohol and other drug use outcomes than the PE condition, in either the adolescent or sibling. Brief interventions addressing parenting behaviors may not be sufficient to reduce alcohol use in adolescent drinkers not referred due to an alcohol-related incident. Future research might be conducted to explore whether brief parent interventions, such as those in the present study, could be useful as a preventive intervention for parents whose teens report low levels of substance use.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00925340.

Keywords: Adolescence; Brief interventions; Family Check-up; Psychoeducation; Underage drinking.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Family Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / prevention & control*
  • Motivational Interviewing*
  • Parenting
  • Parents*
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods
  • Siblings
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00925340