Brief intervention for drug-abusing adolescents in a school setting: Outcomes and mediating factors

Ken C Winters, Tamara Fahnhorst, Andria Botzet, Susanne S Lee, Britani Lalone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


This randomized controlled trial evaluated the use of two brief intervention conditions for adolescents (aged 12-18 years) who have been identified in a school setting as abusing alcohol and other drugs. Adolescents and their parents (N = 315) were randomly assigned to receive either a two-session adolescent-only (BI-A), two-session adolescent and additional parent session (BI-AP), or assessment-only control condition (CON). Interventions were manually guided and delivered in a school setting by trained counselors. Adolescents and parents were assessed at intake and at 6 months following the completion of the intervention. Analyses of relative (change from intake to 6 months) and absolute (status at 6 months) outcome variables indicated that for the most part, adolescents in the BI-A and BI-AP conditions showed significantly more reductions in drug use behaviors compared with the CON group. In addition, youth receiving the BI-AP condition showed significantly better outcomes compared with the BI-A group on several variables. Problem-solving skills and use of additional counseling services mediated outcome. The value of a school-based brief intervention for students is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-288
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Adolescence
  • Brief intervention
  • Drug abuse


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