Support to Reunite, Involve, and Value Each Other (STRIVE) is a community-based program that aims to reduce sexual risk behaviors, substance use, and conduct problems among homeless teens. A random-assignment study found a positive intervention impact on teens’ conduct problems, but mixed impacts on their drug use and sexual risk behaviors. Teens who participated in the intervention had significantly fewer sexual partners and used alcohol and hard drugs less frequently, but used marijuana more frequently than their control group peers. There was no intervention impact on whether teens used alcohol, marijuana, or hard drugs at all or on whether teens had had sex or how frequently they had sex or unprotected sex.
DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM
Support to Reunite, Involve, and Value Each Other (STRIVE) is a community-based program that aims to reduce sexual risk behaviors, substance use, and conduct problems among homeless teens by improving their and their parents’ problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. Throughout the program, running away from home is presented as an ineffective way to deal with family conflict while teens and their parents learn skills to help them deal with problem-solving and conflict resolution more effectively. Families learn the importance of healthy family practices like creating a positive family climate, resolving conflict in a way that is beneficial to the parent and teen, recognizing and effectively managing emotions, providing positive affirmations frequently, providing role clarity, and using effective problem-solving skills. Families are then taught skills to help incorporate these concepts through the use of tokens as rewards for positive behaviors, a feeling thermometer, a “think-feel-do” problem-solving model, roleplaying, and the strategy of reframing problems and solutions in a non-blaming way.
STRIVE programming consists of five 1.5-to 2-hour individual parent-teen sessions held at a location chosen by the family; the skills from previous sessions are reinforced during all of the following sessions. Sessions are led by trained facilitators. A program manual is available.
Target population: Newly homeless teens and their parents
EVALUATION OF PROGRAM
Milburn, N. G., Iribarren, F. J., Rice, E., Lightfoot, M., Solorio, R., Rotheram-Borus, M. J., … & Duan, N. (2012). A family intervention to reduce sexual risk behavior, substance use, and delinquency among newly homeless youth.Journal of Adolescent Health, 50(4), 358-364.
Evaluated population: A total of 151 families with a homeless teen aged 12 to 17 were recruited from Los Angeles and San Bernadino counties to participate in the study. On average, study participants were 15 years old. Sixty-two percent of youth were Hispanic, 21 percent were African American, 11 percent were White and 7 percent were another race or ethnicity. Only13 percent of youth had ever been away from home as a runaway for more than a month; 63 percent had never been away from home as a runaway for more than 2 weeks. A total of 70 percent were living with their family again at baselines assessment.Additionally, 90 percent were heterosexual and 92 percent were born in the U.S.
Approach: A total of 83 families were randomly assigned to a control group, which received standard care provided by the community-based organizations. The remaining 68 families were assigned to a treatment group, which received STRIVE programming. There were no significant differences between teens in the control group and those in the treatment group for baseline characteristics with the exception of gender (there were significantly more female teens in the treatment group). Seventy-six percent of families attended all five sessions.
Teens completed computer-assisted self-report questionnaires at each of three time points, 3 months after the beginning of the study (immediately after the end of the intervention), and 6 and 12 months after the beginning of the study. Teens reported whether they had had sex, whether they had unprotected sex, the number of sexual partners they had, and the number of times they had sex, whether and how many times they had used they had used alcohol, marijuana, and hard drugs, and the number of conduct problem-related behaviors they had engaged in during the past three months.
Intervention impacts from baseline to 12-month follow-up were mixed. There was a significantly larger decrease in the number of sexual partners among teens in the treatment group as compared to those in the control group. However, there was no significant impact for whether a teen had been sexually active, whether they had unprotected sex, or the number of times they had sex.
There was a significant positive impact on frequency of use for both alcohol and hard drugs for teens in the treatment group as compared to their peers in the control group. However, there was a significant negative intervention impact for the frequency of marijuana use; marijuana use decreased in the control group, but increased in the treatment group. In terms of whether teens used a substance at all over the 12 months, there was no significant intervention impact for alcohol, marijuana, or hard drugs.
Teens in the treatment group also experienced significantly larger decreases in conduct problems than their peers in the control group.
SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
Milburn, N. G., Iribarren, F. J., Rice, E., Lightfoot, M., Solorio, R., Rotheram-Borus, M. J., … & Duan, N. (2012). A family intervention to reduce sexual risk behavior, substance use, and delinquency among newly homeless youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 50(4), 358-364.
KEYWORDS: Adolescents, Middle School, High School, Males and Females (Co-ed), Urban, Community-Based, Home Visitation, Manual, Skills Training, Parent/Family Component, Parent Training/Education, Conduct/Disruptive Disorders, Delinquency, Alcohol, Marijuana/Illicit/Prescription Drugs, Sexual Activity, Condom Use and Contraception
Program information last updated on 12/4/13