Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10–14

Program Goals

Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10–14 (SFP 10–14) is an adaptation of the Strengthening Families Program for parents and their adolescent children. The adapted program aims to reduce substance use and behavior problems during adolescence through improved skills in nurturing and child management by parents and improved interpersonal and personal competencies among youths.


Program Components

SFP 10–14 consists of seven 2-hour sessions for parents and youths conducted weekly. The parents and youths attend separate skill-building groups for the first hour and spend the second hour together in supervised family activities. Parent group sessions clarify expectations based on child development norms, teach appropriate disciplinary practices, teach skills on managing strong adolescent emotion, and teach effective communication skills for dealing with their youths. Youth group sessions teach refusal skills for dealing with peer pressure and personal skills such as dealing with stress. During the joint family sessions, families are taught conflict resolution and communication skills. The sessions also involve games and activities designed to increase cohesiveness and introduce positive involvement of the youths in the family. In all sessions, videotaped presentations are used to introduce the topics and form discussions. Additionally, youths are shown 15-minute videotapes that look at dealing with and resisting peer pressure.


Four booster sessions are designed to be used 6 months to 1 year after the end of the first seven sessions to reinforce the skills gained in the original sessions. Youth sessions generally concentrate on strengthening goal setting, communication skills, behavior management techniques, and peer pressure. By contrast, parents generally discuss the importance of nurturing while simultaneously setting rules, monitoring compliance, and applying appropriate discipline. Topics include developing appropriate rules, encouraging good behavior, using consequences, building bridges, and protecting against substance abuse.


Additional Information

The Strengthening Families Program was formerly called the Iowa Strengthening Families Program.

Intervention ID

10 to 14


Study 1

Intervention-Targeted Parent Behaviors

The 2003 Spoth and colleagues study found no significant differences between the groups for intervention-targeted parent behaviors from time 1 to time 2 and from time 2 to time 3.


Improvements Related to Family Meetings

Time 1 to time 2 results indicated significant improvement for the intervention group compared with the control group for child participation in family meetings but not for the number of family meetings held. From time 2 to time 3, the intervention group youths participated significantly less than at time 2, and there were no differences related to family meetings.


Alcohol-Related Skills

There were no significant differences in alcohol-related areas from time 1 to time 2 and from time 2 to time 3.


Intervention-Targeted Child Behaviors

Targeted child behaviors were significantly improved compared with those of the control group from time 1 to time 2. From time 2 to time 3, the control group had significantly decreased child behaviors, and there was no significant difference for the intervention group.


Study 2

Substance Abuse

For lifetime use of alcohol, lifetime cigarette use, and lifetime use of marijuana, results from the 2004 Spoth and colleagues study indicated slower overall growth in substance use among youths in the Iowa Strengthening Families Program (ISFP) 10–14 group relative to controls at 6 years following baseline. In addition, an initially lower level of alcohol use without parental permission within the ISFP group relative to controls (along with a slower initial growth period) was followed by a growth rate similar to controls.


Study 3

Parenting Competency

The evaluation by Spoth, Randall, and Shin (2008) found the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10–14 (SFP 10–14) program led to a significant increase in parenting competencies.


Student Substance-Related Risk

The program led to significant reductions in students’ substance-related risk in the sixth grade.


School Engagement

SFP 10–14 indirectly led to a significant increase in school engagement. That is, the direct and positive impacts of the program on parenting competencies and student substance-related risk led to significant increases in school engagement in the eighth grade.


Academic Success

Academic success in 12th grade was significantly improved, though indirectly. That is, the program’s impact on improved parenting competencies and reduced students’ substance-related risk in the 6th grade and on increased school engagement in the 8th grade led to increased academic success in the 12th grade.

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