Parent-Focused Preventive Interventions for Youth Substance Use and Problem Behaviors: A Systematic Review – 2018-02

Research indicates substance use initiation increases the risk of other youth problem behaviors and substance dependence. Preventing these problematic behaviors through parenting has the potential for avoiding deleterious consequences for youth, their families, and the community.

This systematic review provides an assessment of parent-focused preventive interventions that are effective in preventing early substance use (SU) and other problem behaviors among youth.

A systematic search following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines was conducted to identify prevention studies. Studies were then assessed utilizing the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) efficacy criteria.

Ten studies, utilizing 11 preventive interventions, met all inclusion criteria.

The efficacious interventions emphasized parent skills training and engagement, were school-based, and utilized multiple prevention strategies. The Strengthening Families Program met the most SPR efficacy criteria. This review suggests parenting interventions are effective at preventing early youth SU and other problem behaviors. Implications for social work practice are discussed.

Barry A. Ladis, Mark Macgowan, Barbara Thomlison, Nicole M. Fava, Hui Huang, Elisa M. Trucco, Marcos J. Martinez
Research on Social Work Practice, February 8, 2018