Mar 30, 2010


The Adolescent Transitions Program – Parent Focus is a 12-session intervention that was evaluated separately in a components analysis of the Adolescent Transitions Program. It features the use of the Family Management Curriculum (Dishion, Kavanagh, Veltman, McCartney, & Stormshak, 2005). An evaluation of this intervention found immediate impacts on family level risk factors as well as on adolescent externalizing and smoking behaviors. However, these impacts dissipated one year after families participated in the program.

Description of the Program

Target Population: Middle school students (Grades 6 to 8)

Parents in the ATP Parent Focus group learn concepts addressed by the Family Management Curriculum (FMC), a 12-session curriculum for group work with parents that is based on over 30 years of research at Oregon Social Learning Center that applies behavioral principles to parenting practices.

The FMC teaches parents three types of family management skills: (a) using incentives to improve behavior; (b) setting limits, monitoring activities, and using appropriate consequences; and (c) using effective approaches to family communication, problem solving, and negotiation. Parents learn about how to make requests, use rewards, monitor, make clear rules, provide reasonable consequences for rule violations, solve problems, and engage in active listening, through discussion, practice, role-plays, and activities to implement at home. Parents also watch six videos that show ineffective and effective parenting practices.

Parent group sessions are facilitated by one or two leaders and a parent consultant who has completed the program. Parents meet for 90 minutes, once a week, for 3 to 4 months and receive weekly mid-week phone contact from the group leader. After completing the group meetings, families receive four individual family meetings and participate in monthly booster sessions for at least 3 months.


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 Focus condition had: fewer family negative events; less family conflict (in videotaped problem solving tasks); and fewer negative interactions with their children. Compared to their counterparts in the control group, students in the Parent Focus condition were rated by mothers (but not by teachers) as having less externalizing behavior at posttest. In addition, students were less likely to report smoking and engaging in negative interactions with their parents. However, by the one-year follow-up, impacts on antisocial behaviors had dissipated.



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, White/Caucasian, Co-Ed, Substance Use, Tobacco Use, Aggression/Bullying, Counseling/Therapy, Rural, Middle School, Substance Use, Parent or Family Component, Parent Training/Education, School-Based, Manual.

Program information last updated on 3/30/10.