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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2012 Apr;42(3):279-88. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2011.08.005. Epub 2011 Oct 14.

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

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA.


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.

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