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Intervening in Adolescent Problem Behavior

A Family-Centered Approach

Thomas J. Dishion and Kate Kavanagh

May 22, 2003
ISBN 9781572308749
Price: $78.00
243 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
January 28, 2005
ISBN 9781593851729
Price: $33.00
243 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"

This book presents a multilevel intervention and prevention program for at-risk adolescents and their families. Grounded in over 15 years of important clinical and developmental research, the Adolescent Transitions Program (ATP) has been nationally recognized as a best practice for strengthening families and reducing adolescent substance use and antisocial behavior. The major focus is to support parents' skills and motivation to reduce adolescent problem behavior and promote success. Spelling out the why, what, and how of this proactive, culturally informed intervention, the volume provides a solid scientific framework and all of the materials needed to implement the program in school or community settings. Included are illustrative case examples and an appendix featuring reproducible handouts and forms.

“This is a book that will appeal to clinicians with an interest in this area and who are thinking about the provision of services for this troubled and notoriously hard-to-treat population. It certainly provokes thought and brings in a variety of interesting concepts.”

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Journal

“This book will be particularly useful to beginning psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers who are interested in an ecological approach to working with adolescents and their families. It provides a clear understanding of the purpose of various program phases, such as prevention, assessment, feedback, and intervention.”

Psychiatric Services

“Over the past 20 years, Dishion and Kavanagh have made many major contributions to our understanding of the development of antisocial behavior in adolescents. This much-anticipated volume details, with great clarity, an extremely well-conceived array of clinical interventions for such youth. This volume will be of great practical value to practitioners within the fields of social work, psychology, and psychiatry.”

—Scott W. Henggeler, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina

“This volume represents a second-generation approach to using parent management training to treat children with conduct disorders and their families. The bold and innovative interventions described here form the first step toward integration of home- and school-based empirically grounded treatments. This is a tremendous effort that helps move the field toward interventions that include parents, teachers, and clinicians working toward shared goals.”

—Gerald R. Patterson, PhD, Oregon Social Learning Center

“Dishion and Kavanagh have written a terrific book detailing their family intervention model. Their approach to adolescent problem behavior is systematic, flexible, and well justified. This evidence-supported intervention is the state of the art in prevention, providing multilevel strategies to match the needs of specific young people and families.”

—Ron Prinz, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina

Table of Contents

I. An Ecological Overview

1. A Family-Centered Model

2. The ATP Multilevel Intervention Strategy

II. The Family Check-Up: Engaging and Motivating Family Change

3. Initial Strategies for Family Engagement

4. An Ecological Assessment Strategy

5. The Family Feedback Session

III. Implementing a Family-Centered Menu

6. Interventions for Family Management

7. Working with Adolescents

8. Working with Parents in Groups

IV. School and Community Change

9. Family-Centered Intervention in Schools

10. Empirical Support for ATP

11. Science as a Tool for Change


Appendix A: Guidelines for Writing the Family Check-Up Report

Appendix B: Next-Year Plan and Summer Check-In

About the Authors

Thomas J. Dishion, PhD, is founder and Director of Research at the Child and Family Center, University of Oregon–Eugene, where he is also Professor of Clinical Psychology.

Kate Kavanagh, PhD, is a research associate at the Child and Family Center, University of Oregon–Portland, and a consultant to the Portland Public School District's prevention office.


Professionals working with adolescents and their families, including clinical and school psychologists, counselors, social workers, family therapists, and child and adolescent psychiatrists.

Course Use

Serves as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.