Family-Based Juvenile Drug Court Services (JDC)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01668303
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : August 20, 2012
Last Update Posted : August 20, 2012
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Gayle Dakof, University of Miami

Brief Summary:
The objective of the proposed study is to adapt and implement an efficacious adolescent substance abuse treatment, Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT), within the juvenile drug court service system. Additionally, the investigators will also examine the extent to which MDFT can enhance the effectiveness of existing juvenile drug court services in terms of decreasing drug use, delinquent behavior and arrests and improving school and vocational outcomes. The study design is a fully randomized controlled trial.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Substance Use Delinquency Behavioral: Miami Juvenile Drug Court-MDFT Behavioral: Miami Juvenile Drug Court -TAU Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Many questions remain regarding optimal treatments for juvenile drug court. To address this gap, the investigators will compare two treatments delivered in a drug court setting: Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) and adolescent group therapy (AGT). This 5-year study will employ a fully randomized (2 conditions) by 5 assessment points (baseline, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months following baseline), repeated measures intent-to-treat design with multiple dependent variables. Adolescents who have been accepted into the Miami Juvenile Drug Court (MJDC) will be randomized to receive one of two treatments: MDFT (n = 57) or AGT (n = 55). The substance abuse treatments will be equivalent in terms of therapeutic dosage, and all youth with receive the same drug court program with wtreatment received being the only difference (family vs non-family treatment). In order to maximize the ecological validity of the study, both treatments will be delivered by community-based drug abuse counselors. MDFT will be delivered by providers at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Adolescent Substance Abuse Program and AGT by providers at a separate facility, Here's Help.

Aim 1. Acceptability and Effectiveness. The study will address the comparative acceptability and effectiveness of the two drug court programs in ways that are consistent with recommendations from the juvenile drug court literature to consider multi-domain and multiple perspectives of program goals and outcomes. First, effectiveness will be assessed in terms of the differential rates at which youth in MDFT and AGT graduate from drug court, a primary goal of the drug court program. Juvenile offending substance abusers and their families are notoriously difficult to engage and retain in any type of treatment program, yet family-based interventions have demonstrated impressive retention rates with these populations. Thus an important aspect of the proposed effectiveness evaluation will be the extent to which the MDFT intervention improves drug court program completion rates. Our second perspective on effectiveness involves an examination of the rates of change in a number of critical domains, including reductions in substance use, arrests, and delinquent behaviors, as well as improvements in school/vocational performance over a 2-year period. With these multidimensional outcome assessments the investigators will be able to explore different dimensions and trajectories of recovery following drug court participation. This is consistent with the aims of juvenile drug courts not only to reduce drug use and delinquency but also to increase adolescents' prosocial skills and behaviors. The investigators are also interested in examining multiple perspectives on the relative acceptability of MDFT to drug court staff, teens, and families, as recommended by drug court researchers.

Aim 2. Drug Court Program Mechanisms. While the few existing studies of key drug court factors have focused mainly on the structural and judicial aspects of drug court programs, almost nothing is known about the treatment processes affecting drug court outcomes, or the mechanisms of clinical and judicial component impact. Clearly, an important next step in this specialty is to delineate the treatment processes and ingredients that maximize outcomes in drug court, particularly in relation to the application of evidence-based therapy models within drug court programs. Examination of change mechanisms is now recognized as an essential feature of state-of-the-art drug abuse intervention research. Among those process variables considered important in mediating drug treatment outcomes are the therapeutic alliance that is formed between provider and client , and the extent to which a positive collaborative relationship develops among all drug court team members, including the judge. Research on family-based interventions supports the contention that family-based treatments exert their effects through the reduction of family risk and the facilitation of protective processes, and family functioning has been found to play a primary role in helping teens achieve and maintain recovery after substance abuse treatment. In sum, given that the quest to improve drug court program development, implementation, and outcomes rests in large part on the clarification of the programs' mechanisms of action, drug court researchers have turned their attention to analyses linking within-program processes to outcomes. The proposed study will do likewise.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 112 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Family-Based Juvenile Drug Court Services
Study Start Date : June 2004
Actual Primary Completion Date : November 2009
Actual Study Completion Date : November 2009

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Miami Juvenile Drug Court-MDFT
Multidimensional family therapy (MDFT) is primarily a family-based approach (Liddle, 2002)which conducts individual sessions with the teen and parent[s] but not peer-group sessions.
Behavioral: Miami Juvenile Drug Court-MDFT
MDFT assesses and intervenes in five domains: 1) Interventions with the adolescent, 2) interventions with the parent, 3) interventions to improve the parent-adolescent relationship, 4) interventions with other family members, and 5) interventions with external systems.

Miami Juvenile Drug Court -TAU
The Treatment as Usual (TAU) condition is primarily a peer group-based and individual approach that uses cognitive-behavioral principles and interventions.
Behavioral: Miami Juvenile Drug Court -TAU
Each client is provided with a primary outpatient counselor who develops a treatment plan to address long-range goals. Family members are included in an assessment and treatment planning session at the beginning of treatment, but no formal family therapy is provided. Group therapy topics include self-esteem enhancement, decision-making skills, stress/anger management, communication skills, health education, teen pregnancy prevention, and occupational/career planning.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Graduation from juvenile drug court [ Time Frame: Collected once at 12 months from intake/baseline. ]
    Status of drug court graduation (graduated from drug court or did not graduate from drug court)

  2. Change in substance use [ Time Frame: Baseline at the begining of the study, and then at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after baseline ]
    Personal Experiences with Chemicals Inventory

  3. Change in delinquency [ Time Frame: Baseline, and then at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after baseline ]
    Self-report, parent report, and juvenile justice records: Self-report delinquency scale, Youth Self Report, Child Behavior Checklist; arrests and disposition from juvenile justice records.

  4. Change in Mental health symptoms [ Time Frame: Baseline, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months after baseline ]
    Youth and parent report: Child Behavior Checklist, Youth Self Report

  5. Change in Family functioning [ Time Frame: Baseline, 6, 14, 18, and 24 months after baseline ]
    Youth and Parent Report: Family Environment Scales, Parental Stress Index, Behavior Affect Relationship Scales

  6. Length of treatment [ Time Frame: Collected once, at 12 months after baseline ]
    How many weeks of treatment received

  7. Change in arrests [ Time Frame: 12 months before intake through 24 months after intake ]
    Arrests will be extracted from juvenile justice records.

  8. Change in substance use [ Time Frame: Intake, 6, 12, 18, 24 months after intake ]
    Measured by the Timeline Follow Back Method

  9. Change in substance use [ Time Frame: Intake, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months after intake ]
    Urinanalysis to detect drugs

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   12 Years to 18 Years   (Child, Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

(a) Substance abuse or dependence disorder requiring outpatient treatment, and (b)after consulting with his or her attorney, the youth and family voluntarily agrees to enter juvenile drug court.

Exclusion Criteria:

(a) Their current offense is the sale of drugs, a gun offense, a violent offense, or sexual battery,(b) their current offense is likely to merit commitment to a secure or locked juvenile justice facility or (c) they have severe mental illness or retardation according to their intake MJDC evaluation.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01668303

United States, Florida
Here's Help Inc.
Miami, Florida, United States, 33054
Jackson Memorial Hospital
Miami, Florida, United States, 33136
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Miami, Florida, United States, 33136
Juvenile Drug Court
Miami, Florida, United States, 33142
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Miami
Principal Investigator: Gayle A. Dakof, Ph.D. University of Miami

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Gayle Dakof, Associate Professor, University of Miami Identifier: NCT01668303     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R01DA017478 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: August 20, 2012    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: August 20, 2012
Last Verified: August 2012

Keywords provided by Gayle Dakof, University of Miami:
juvenile drug court
substance abuse
family therapy
multidimensional family therapy