Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 11 Issue 4 (July/August 2001), Pages 243-327

Early impact of the BEST intervention for parents stressed by adolescent substance abuse (pages 291-304)

Abstract

Youth involvement in substance abuse can be a source of considerable distress for their parents. Unilateral family interventions have been advocated as one means by which concerned family members can be supported to assist substance‐abusing family members. To date there has been little research examining the impact of unilateral family interventions on the directly participating family members. In this study the early impact of an 8‐week parent‐group programme known as Behavioural Exchange Systems Training (BEST) was evaluated using a quasi‐experimental, waiting list control design. The professionally led programme had been developed to support and assist parents in their efforts to cope with adolescent substance abuse. Subjects were 66 parents (48 families) accepted for entry into the programme between 1997 and 1998. Comparison was made between 46 parents offered immediate entry into the programme and 20 parents whose entry to the programme was delayed by an 8‐week waiting list. At the first assessment 87% of parents showed elevated mental health symptoms on the General Health Questionnaire. Evidence suggested exposure to the intervention had a positive impact on parents. Compared to parents on the waiting list, parents entered immediately into the intervention demonstrated greater reductions in mental health symptoms, increased parental satisfaction, and increased use of assertive parenting behaviours. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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