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A Comparison of Adolescent Group Therapy and Transitional Family Therapy for Adolescent Alcohol and Drug Abusers

The recruitment status of this study is unknown. The completion date has passed and the status has not been verified in more than two years.
Verified November 2008 by The Morton Center, Inc..
Recruitment status was:  Active, not recruiting
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Information provided by:
The Morton Center, Inc. Identifier:
First received: June 7, 2007
Last updated: August 25, 2011
Last verified: November 2008
The purpose of this study is to compare the effectiveness of two psychosocially-based, manual-driven, behavioral modalities. One of these is a standardized version of the established modality of Adolescent Group Therapy (AGT), which includes both psychoeducational and therapeutic components. The other is a state-of-the-art family therapy approach, Transitional Family Therapy (TFT), which integrates management of the current problem with exploration of multigenerational issues. Both approaches have been developed to expressly target adolescent alcohol problems.

Condition Intervention Phase
Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol Dependence
Cannabis Abuse
Cannabis Dependence
Other Substance Abuse
Behavioral: Adolescent group therapy
Behavioral: Transitional family therapy
Phase 2
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Family and Group Therapies for Adolescent Alcohol Abuse

Further study details as provided by The Morton Center, Inc.:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Alcohol use Cannabis use Other substance use [ Time Frame: Baseline, 3 months post-treatment, 1 year post-treatment, and 2 years post-treatment ]

Enrollment: 120
Study Start Date: July 1999
Estimated Study Completion Date: August 2012
Estimated Primary Completion Date: August 2012 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: 1 AGT Behavioral: Adolescent group therapy
Adolescent group therapy
Active Comparator: 2 TFT Behavioral: Transitional family therapy
Transitional family therapy

Detailed Description:

Despite well-founded societal concerns over the use of illicit drugs by youth, alcohol use has persisted for decades as the number one adolescent substance abuse problem in the U.S. Further, research has shown that the earlier the onset of alcohol use, the more likely is a person to develop alcohol dependence later, during adulthood. Consequently, the need is clear for interventions which will arrest this process at the earliest point possible. Hence, interventions that mobilize a youth's social systems to help that young person deal with the problem, i.e., the family and peer systems, would make sense from a number of standpoints. Two primary modalities developed to deal with such issues are those examined here: family therapy and group therapy.

The participants were males and females, ages 13-17 at intake, with a DSM-IV diagnosis of either alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence. Following random assignment to condition, basic treatment in both conditions was based on a 12-session model and took approximately 3-4 months, followed by 1-2 aftercare sessions over an additional 1-2 months. The treatment was provided by therapists who were already working within the community (as opposed, for instance, to graduate students). Follow-up assessments were obtained at 3 months post-treatment, 1 year post-treatment, and 2 years post-treatment, thus allowing determination of the extent to which treatment effects "held up" to a degree not attained by most of the previous outcome studies within this domain.

Comparisons: AGT and TFT are being compared on the extent to which their participants used alcohol, as well as other substances, during the three post-treatment periods. Other comparisons include school performance (grade point average), family relations/functioning, and involvement with the legal system.


Ages Eligible for Study:   13 Years to 17 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Male and female outpatients 13-17 years of age at intake.
  • Participants had a current DSM-IV diagnosis of either alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence.
  • Participants signed a witnessed informed consent.
  • Parent or custodian of each (adolescent) participant signed a witnessed informed consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Participants who met current DSM-IV criteria for bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder, or eating disorder.
  • Enrollment in a residential substance abuse treatment program within 2 months prior to intake.
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00484367

United States, Kentucky
The Morton Center
Louisville, Kentucky, United States, 40204
Sponsors and Collaborators
The Morton Center, Inc.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Principal Investigator: Morris D. Stanton, PhD The Morton Center
  More Information

Responsible Party: Morris D. Stanton, PhD, The Morton Center Identifier: NCT00484367     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: NIAAA-STA12178
R01AA012178 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
NIH Grant R01 AA12178
Study First Received: June 7, 2007
Last Updated: August 25, 2011

Keywords provided by The Morton Center, Inc.:
Alcohol abuse
Substance abuse
Cannabis abuse
Group therapy
Family therapy

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Marijuana Abuse
Substance-Related Disorders
Chemically-Induced Disorders
Mental Disorders
Alcohol-Related Disorders
Anti-Infective Agents, Local
Anti-Infective Agents
Central Nervous System Depressants
Physiological Effects of Drugs processed this record on March 24, 2017