The Family Check-Up with high-risk young adolescents: Preventing early-onset substance use by parent monitoring

Thomas J. Dishion, Sarah E. Nelson, Kathryn Kavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

232 Scopus citations


The Family Check-Up (FCU) is a brief, family-centered intervention focused on family-management practices. Within the context of a randomly assigned, multilevel family intervention, high-risk youth and families (n = 71) were selected for video-taped home observation that includes an interaction task assessing parent monitoring. Parents in the intervention group were offered annual feedback on the yearly assessment, including their home observation. Using an intention-to-treat design, analyses revealed intervention effects on early-adolescent substance use and observed parent monitoring by the first year of high school (Year 4 of follow-up). As in previous research, parents of high-risk adolescents were observed to decrease monitoring from grades 7 to 9. However, families randomly assigned to the family intervention maintained their monitoring practices. Regression analyses revealed the prevention effect of the FCU on substance use was mediated by changes in parental monitoring. Findings suggest the promise of linking developmental theory with innovation in cognitive behavioral intervention and prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-571
Number of pages19
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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