Decision-making style and response to parental involvement in brief interventions for adolescent substance use

Timothy F Piehler, Ken C. Winters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Adolescent decision making has been previously identified as risk factor for substance abuse as well as a proximal intervention target. The study sought to extend this research by evaluating the role of decision-making style in response to parent involvement in brief substance abuse interventions. Adolescents (aged 12 to 18 years; n = 259) identified in a school setting as abusing alcohol and marijuana were randomly assigned to complete 1 of 2 brief interventions (BIs), either a 2-session adolescent-only program (BI-A) or the 2-session adolescent program with an additional parent session (BI-AP). Interventions were manualized and delivered in a school setting by trained counselors. Adolescent decisionmaking style was evaluated at intake, and alcohol and marijuana use were evaluated at intake and at a 6-month follow-up assessment. Supporting past research with these interventions, BI-AP demonstrated overall stronger outcomes for marijuana when compared with BI-A. Across both intervention models, an adaptive decision-making style (i.e., constructive, rational) assessed at intake predicted greater reductions in marijuana use. A significant moderation effect emerged for alcohol outcomes. Adolescents with maladaptive decision-making tendencies (i.e., impulsive/careless, avoidant) demonstrated the largest benefit from the parental involvement in BI-AP, whereas those with a less impulsive style derived little additional benefit from parental involvement in regard to alcohol use outcomes. Implications for the tailoring of brief interventions for adolescent substance abuse are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-346
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Psychological Association.


  • Adolescence
  • Brief intervention
  • Decision making
  • Parents
  • Substance use


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