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Brief Strategic Family Therapy Effective in Reducing Alcohol Use in Parents as Well as Adolescents

October 1, 2015
Horigian VE, et al
Horigian VE, et al. The Effects of Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) on Parent Substance Use and the Association Between Parent and Adolescent Substance Use. Addictive Behaviors 2015;42:44-50.
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  • Brief Strategic Family Therapy® (BSFT®) is a manualized intervention developed to correct family interactions associated with adolescent substance use and related behavior problems.
  • Though numerous studies have found BSFT efficacious in engaging and retaining families in treatment, the effects of the intervention on substance use in parents have not been explored.

This study aimed to determine those effects, as well explore the relationship between parent and adolescent substance abuse. Using data from the NIDA CTN protocol about the use of BSFT (“Brief Strategic Family Therapy for Adolescent Drug Abusers,” CTN-0014), substance use and family functioning for 480 parents and teens at 8 outpatient programs was assessed at baseline and up to 12 months post-randomization.

Results found that:

  • Parents in the BSFT group significantly decreased their alcohol use from baseline to 12 months.
  • Change in family functioning had an impact on relationship between treatment condition and change in parent alcohol use.
  • Children of parents who reported drug use at baseline had 3 times as many days of reported substance use themselves at baseline, compared to children of parents who did not use or only used alcohol.
  • Adolescents in the BSFT group had a significantly lower trajectory of substance use than those in TAU if their parents used drugs at baseline.
  • Conclusions: Though it was initially developed to address adolescent substance use, it appears as though BSFT is also effective in reducing alcohol use in parents. Additionally, it seems to be particularly beneficial for teens of parents who were using drugs at baseline, information useful in targeting adolescents who can best benefit from this intervention.

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