The Effects of Family Therapies for Adolescent Delinquency and Substance Abuse: A Meta-analysis

Authors


  • Scott A. Baldwin, PhD, is on the Faculty of Psychology at Brigham Young University, Sarah Christian, BS, Doctoral student in the Department of Psychology at Brigham Young University, and Arjan Berkeljon, BS, Doctoral student in the Department of Psychology at Brigham Young University, Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University; William R. Shadish, PhD, is on the Faculty in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts at the University of California, Merced. School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts.

Address correspondence to Scott A. Baldwin, 268 TLRB, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84460; E-mail: scott_baldwin@byu.edu

Abstract

This meta-analysis summarizes results from = 24 studies comparing either Brief Strategic Family Therapy, Functional Family Therapy, Multidimensional Family Therapy, or Multisystemic Therapy to either treatment-as-usual, an alternative therapy, or a control group in the treatment of adolescent substance abuse and delinquency. Additionally, the authors reviewed and applied three advanced meta-analysis methods including influence analysis, multivariate meta-analysis, and publication bias analyses. The results suggested that as a group the four family therapies had statistically significant, but modest effects as compared to treatment-as-usual (= 0.21; = 11) and as compared to alternative therapies (= 0.26; = 11). The effect of family therapy compared to control was larger (= 0.70; = 4) but was not statistically significant probably because of low power. There was insufficient evidence to determine whether the various models differed in their effectiveness relative to each other. Influence analyses suggested that three studies had a large effect on aggregate effect sizes and heterogeneity statistics. Moderator and multivariate analyses were largely underpowered but will be useful as this literature grows.

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