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Do Parenting Interventions to Reduce Youth Substance Abuse Work? A Systematic Review Tells All :

August 4, 2016

Parenting interventions are thought by many to reduce the risk of future youth substance abuse. Does this actually work?

Parenting interventions are thought by many to reduce the risk of future youth substance abuse. Does this actually work?  Allen et al. (10.1542/peds.2015-4425) opted to systematically collect all published randomized controlled trials looking at outcomes of these parenting interventions and found 42 studies in 66 papers that met their search criteria for inclusion.  

The good news is that brief (12 or fewer contact hours) in-person versus online parenting interventions appear to work in the long and short run for all risk taking behaviors (although alcohol prevention was also helped by online delivery of an educational intervention for parents as well).  While biases can still exist in individual studies, the overall compilation of these numerous studies are why systematic reviews can be quite helpful when it comes to strengthening the import of the smaller studies once they are combined into one overall summary article like this one.

Take the time to educate yourself on what and how these studies are making a difference for parents to in turn help prevent their teens from using substances like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.  Reading this article is a risk well worth taking!

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