Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 ...

Mother and DaughterNamed the number one prevention program out of 6,000 for long-term effects on substance use and misuse by Dr. David Foxcroft, Oxford Brookes University.

SFP 10-14 is Evidence Based

SFP 10-14 has been scientifically evaluated in a randomized, controlled test with families of sixth graders through Project Family at the Partnerships for Prevention Science Institute at Iowa State University.

This large-scale, experimental design trial involved random assignment of 33 Iowa public schools. Outcome evaluations entailed the use of multi-informant, multi-method measurement procedures at pretest, posttest, and follow-up data collections completed approximately one half, one and one half, two and one half, four, and six years after pretest.

Assessments included in-home videotapes of families in structured family interaction tasks and in-home interviews that included scales from standardized instruments and commonly used measures such as the National Survey of Delinquency and Drug Use. A total of 161 families participated in 21 intervention groups at eleven different schools, with group sizes ranging from three to fifteen families. Participation rates were high among pretested families. Ninety-four percent of attending pretested families were represented by a family member in five or more sessions.

What is Evidence Based?

"Evidence based" refers to scientifically tested programs such as the SFP 10-14. Programs that are evidence based meet rigid criteria to achieve the scientifically tested label. They were tested as part of a research study, which demonstrated that over time, youth who participated in the programs had better outcomes than those who did not.

In general, evidence based programs:

  • Are based on a clearly articulated and empirically-supported theory
  • Have a detailed description of the intervention and measurement design--what outcomes were produced in what populations with what intervention
  • Have measurable outcomes that have been assessed with psychometrically strong measures, including long-term follow-ups, where indicated
  • Have been tested in a scientifically-sound way with comparison conditions, optimally through randomized controlled studies

Advantages of evidence based programs:

  • Positive outcomes and economic benefits more likely for youth and families
  • Resources will not be used for ineffective programs--better accountability
  • Funding increasingly available primarily for evidence based programs
  • Materials, training, and technical assistance are available


SFP 10-14 Results

  • Youth attending the program had significantly lower rates of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use compared to control youth.
  • The differences between program and control youth actually increased over time, indicating that skills learned and strong parent-child relationships continue to have greater and greater influence.
  • Youth attending the program had significantly fewer conduct problems in school than youth in the control group.
  • Parents showed gains in specific parenting skills including setting appropriate limits and building a positive relationship with their youth.
  • Parents showed an increase in positive feelings towards their child.
  • Parents show gains on general child management including setting rules and following through with consequences.
  • Parents increase skills in general child management such as effectively monitoring youth and having appropriate and consistent discipline.

Additional information can be found on the Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute's research projects page.