Mar 30, 2010


The Adolescent Transitions Program – Parent and Teen Focus was evaluated separately in a components analysis of the Adolescent Transitions Program. This program seeks to reduce problem behaviors and promote school success by improving parent-child interactions, promoting prosocial behavior messages and skills, and bridging school personnel and families together. This intervention decreased negative parent-child interactions but not family conflict at posttest. However, it did not produce positive impacts on externalizing or smoking behavior (at posttest or at the one-year follow-up).

Description of the Program

Target Population: Middle students (Grades 6 to 8)

The ATP Parent and Teen Focus component involves the use of volunteer school liaisons, behavioral consultants, parent groups, and a curriculum for youth. School liaisons, selected by the principal, are intended to link the participants with the school. Their primary responsibilities are to facilitate information gathering and communication with teachers, meet weekly with students and serve as their advocates, and attend parent groups weekly to report on students’ school performance and behavior. Behavioral consultants helped teachers develop behavior change plans for the highest risk students. Groups of parents and teens meet separately in parallel fashion, once a week for 12 weeks in small groups. Parents learn and practice family management skills such as problem solving, communication, limit setting, supervision, and discipline (see Adolescent Transition Program – Parent Focus). Six, 10-minute videotapes demonstrate relevant skills and practices and parents and teens apply skills in various parent-child activities. After youth complete the Teen-Focus curriculum, high risk and low-risk youth work together on a video project on substance use and other issues facing middle school students and families. The video would send the message that problem behaviors and substance use were harmful (to incorporate knowledge and skills taught in the program).


Dishion TJ, & Andrews DW. (1995). Preventing escalation in problem behaviors with high-risk young adolescents: Immediate and 1-year outcomes. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 63(4), 538-548.

Evaluated population: This study evaluated 158 families with high-risk children 11 to 14 years of age–with 83 boys and 75 girls. Adolescents were between 11 and 14 years of age, with a mean age of 12 years. Whites comprised 95% of the study population, and nearly one-quarter of families had an annual income below $10,000.

Approach: Self-referred families participated in an initial telephone screen to assess risk factor status. If the adolescent met enrollment criteria, the family was randomly assigned to one of the study conditions: Parent Focus; Teen Focus; Parent and Teen Focus; and self-directed. The self-directed group received intervention materials only (in the form of 6 newsletters and 5 videotapes) and did not receive group sessions or meet with a therapist. A control group, which was quasi-experimental and received no intervention, was also included. Because these two latter groups were not statistically different from one another at program completion or at the one-year follow-up, they were collapsed into one group for the analysis.

Outcomes were assessed using parent and teacher-rated child behavior inventories, student-rated school behaviors, audio-taped problem-solving scenarios, and videotaped family problem-solving sessions and parent-child interactions. Data on smoking behavior were collected via self report and data on externalizing or acting out behaviors were collected via parent and teacher ratings. Families were provided a $10 incentive per hour of the assessment, and teachers were provided an $8 incentive for completing a student assessment.

Results: At posttest, compared to parents in the control group, parents in the Parent and Teen Focus condition had fewer negative interactions with their children but not lower levels of family conflict. Compared to their control group counterparts, youth in the Parent and Teen Focus condition had fewer negative interactions with their parents at posttest but did not engage in less externalizing or smoking behavior at posttest or at the one-year follow-up.



Dishion, T. J., & Andrews, D. W. (1995). Preventing escalation in problem behaviors with high-risk young adolescents: Immediate and 1-year outcomes. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 63(4), 538-548.

Dishion, T. J., Kavanagh, K., Veltman, M., McCartney, T., & Stormshak, E. A. (2005). Family Management Curriculum Ver. 2.0: Leader’s guide.Eugene, OR: Child and Family Center Publications (

For training and materials costs, contact: Ann Simas, Publications Specialist

Child and Family Center, University of Oregon
195 West 12th Avenue
Eugene, OR 97401-3408
Phone: (541) 346-1983 Fax: (541) 346-4858


To schedule training, for programmatic or research questions, or for billable technical assistance contact:

Kate Kavanagh, Ph.D., Project Alliance
Child and Family Center, University of Oregon
2738 NE Broadway
Portland OR 97232
Phone: (503) 282-3662 Fax: (503) 282-3808

KEYWORDS: Adolescents (12-17), Middle School, Co-Ed, Substance Use, White/Caucasian, Tabacco Use, Aggression/Bullying, Rural, Substance Use, Parent or Family Component, Skills Training, Parent Training/Education, School-Based, Manual.

Program information last updated on 3/30/10.