Parents as interventionists: Addressing adolescent substance use

Andria M. Botzet, Christine Dittel, Robyn Birkeland, Susanne Lee, John Grabowski, Ken C. Winters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Much research and attention has focused on addressing the extremes of the adolescent substance use spectrum: either the prevention of substance use prior to its onset or the treatment of those with a substance use disorder (SUD). Little research has looked at adolescents who fall mid-continuum. Adolescents who use substances in this mild-to-moderate range may be efficiently and cost-effectively treated using brief interventions based on cognitive-behavioral (CB) and motivational interviewing (MI) strategies. Accessibility and feasibility of providing interventions may also be enhanced by training parents in application of CB and MI principles. An innovative home-based brief intervention for parents whose children engaged in mild to moderate drug abuse was developed and evaluated using a quasi-experimental design. Participants were parents and their adolescent child from the 7-county metro area of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Decreased substance use and increased family cohesion were the predicted outcomes of the Home Base intervention. Results suggest decreased adolescent marijuana use frequency, decreased alcohol use disorder symptomology, and increased parental happiness with their adolescent child. Alcohol and tobacco use frequency were statistically unchanged. Baseline levels of drug use severity moderated the relation between intervention and outcomes. These findings support the potential utility of this approach and also indicate the need to further develop accessible and efficient interventions for mild to moderate SUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-133
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Award Number P50DA027841 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. This clinical trial is registered under NCT01591239 on . Some of the data presented in this manuscript were presented at the Hennepin County Spring Conference on 5/3/18.


  • Adolescent
  • Family
  • Intervention
  • Parents
  • Substance use

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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