Individual vs. Group Community Reinforcement Training to Help Parents of Substance-using Treatment-refusing Youth

2014-09-18 14:20:41 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to test the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of Community Reinforcement Training (CRT) provided in a group therapy format. The goals of CRT are to teach parents behavioral and communication skills to influence their youth's drug use and encourage them to enter treatment. Thirty parents will be randomly assigned to Group CRT and 30 will be randomly assigned to traditional, Individual CRT. Youth engaged in treatment will receive individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Families are assessed for adolescent substance use and other areas of individual and family functioning. It is expected that Group CRT will be more effective for encouraging youth entry into treatment and improving parental functioning.


Very few youth with drug abuse or dependence in the United States receive treatment. This population of untreated youth represents a massive "treatment gap" in adolescent health care that renders impotent a potentially important avenue for preventing chronic drug abuse and related difficulties. The lack of motivation for treatment characterizing most adolescent drug abusers significantly decreases the likelihood these youth will enter treatment, barring mandates from the legal system or other social institutions. Efficacy studies have demonstrated that Community Reinforcement Training (CRT), an approach that involves teaching parents how to engage their youth into treatment, can work to recruit 60-80% of these treatment-elusive youth. CRT is traditionally provided in an individual therapy format to one or both parents. This study will improve upon our prior work by using a group format to provide a less costly procedure for engaging youth into treatment and to make it more portable to treatment agencies, schools, juvenile justice, and other community organizations seeking to offer support to parents or engage youth in treatment, thus significantly increasing the adoption and sustainability of the approach.

This study will examine the efficacy of the group format (G-CRT) for helping parents engage their unmotivated, resistant youth in treatment compared to the traditional individual format (I-CRT). Parents (n = 60) will be randomly assigned to G-CRT or to I-CRT. We will evaluate the differential efficacy of G-CRT, relative to I-CRT, on rates of adolescent engagement in treatment. We expect that G-CRT, compared to I-CRT, will also be associated with greater parent encouragement of adolescent sobriety, perceived social support, and family functioning. We also predict that changes on these process variables will predict increased success in engaging adolescents. We will also examine treatment outcomes for youth engaged in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a function of parental involvement in G-CRT or I-CRT. We predict enhanced support received by parents in G-CRT will result in greater reductions in drug use and lower levels of HIV-risk behaviors, outcomes hypothesized to be mediated by motivation to change and sessions attendance. Finally, we will conduct an informal cost-effectiveness analysis to derive preliminary estimates of the relative costs of each treatment modality per outcome unit and hypothesize that G-CRT will be more cost effective than I-CRT by virtue of having higher clinical effectiveness and lower costs. Successful outcomes here will provide the basis for a full clinical trial with larger samples.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Substance Use Disorders


Group Community Reinforcement Training for Parents, Individual Community Reinforcement Training for Parents


Center for Family and Adolescent Research
United States




Oregon Research Institute

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-09-18T14:20:41-0400

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