Use your browser's back button to choose another title or click here for a New Search.

How to Get the Article

 Email CTN Library (free)

PubMed Central (free)

Journal subscriber access




Bookmark and Share





Brief Strategic Family Therapy versus Treatment as Usual: Results of a Multisite Randomized Trial for Substance Using Adolescents.

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2011;79(6):713-727. [doi: 10.1037/a0025477]

Michael S. Robbins, PhD (Oregon Research Institute, WS Node), Daniel J. Feaster, PhD (University of Miami, FNA Node), Viviana E. Horigian, MD (University of Miami, FNA Node), Michael J. Rohrbaugh, PhD (University of Arizona, WS Node), Varda Shoham, PhD (University of Arizona, WS Node), Ken Bachrach, MD (Tarzana Treatment Centers, PR Node), Michael Miller, PhD (The Village South, Inc., FNA Node), Ann Kathleen Burlew, PhD (The Crossroads Center, OV Node), Candace C. Hodgkins, PhD, LMHC (Gateway Community Services, FNA Node), Ibis S. Carrion, PsyD (Universidad Central del Caribe, FNA Node), Nancy Vandermark (Arapahoe House, FNA Node), Eric Schindler, PhD (Child and Family Services, WS Node), Robert C. Werstlein, PhD (Daymark Recovery Services, Inc., FNA Node), José Szapocznik, PhD (University of Miami, FNA Node).

This is the Primary Outcomes Article for CTN-0014. This study was designed to determine the effectiveness of brief strategic family therapy (BSFT, an evidence-based family therapy) compared to treatment as usual (TAU) as provided in community-based adolescent outpatient drug abuse programs. In protocol CTN-0014, BSFT was compared to TAU with a multiethnic sample of adolescents (213 Hispanic, 148 White, and 110 Black) referred for drug abuse treatment at eight community treatment agencies nationwide. Randomization encompassed both adolescents' families (n=480) and the agency therapists (n=49) who provided either TAU or BSFT services. The primary outcome was adolescent drug use, assessed monthly via adolescent self-report and urinalysis for up to 1 year post-randomization. Secondary outcomes included treatment engagement (2 or more sessions), retention (8 or more sessions), and participants' reports of family functioning 4, 8, and 12 months following randomization. No overall differences between conditions were observed in the trajectories of self-reports of adolescent drug use. However, the median number of days of self-reported drug use was significantly higher in TAU than in BSFT at the final observation point. BSFT was significantly more effective than TAU in engaging and retaining family members in treatment and in improving parent reports of family functioning.

Conclusions: The current findings provide support for the impact of the BSFT intervention on engagement, retention, and parent-reported family functioning with adolescents from diverse racial/ethnic groups. However, the weak effects on drug use outcomes, combined with the difficulties in establishing optimal implementation of the BSFT model, raise concerns about how to most successfully transport the BSFT model into community settings. These challenges, as well as recommendations for further research, are discussed. (Article (Peer-Reviewed), PDF, English, 2011)

Keywords: Adolescents | African Americans | Behavior therapy | Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) | Community health services | CTN primary outcomes | Family therapy | Hispanics and Latinos | Minority groups | Retention - Treatment | Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (journal)

Document No: 712, PMID: 21967492, PMCID: PMC3440775.

Submitted by CTN Dissemination Librarians, 10/12/2011.


Bachrach, Ken mail
Burlew, Ann Kathleen mail
Carrion, Ibis S. mail
Feaster, Daniel J. mail
Hodgkins, Candace C. mail
Horrigian, Viviana E. mail
Miller, Michael mail
Robbins, Michael S. search mail
Rohrbaugh, Michael J. mail
Schindler, Eric
Shoham, Varda search mail
Szapocznik, José mail
Vandermark, Nancy
Werstlein, Robert mail
NIDA-CTN-0014 www
Florida Node Alliance (Lead) www
North Carolina www
Ohio Valley www
Pacific Region www
Rocky Mountain Regional www
Western States www

dark blue line
Supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.
The materials on this site have neither been created nor reviewed by NIDA.
Updated 12/2012 --
dark blue line