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Family support programs and adolescent mental health: review of evidence

Authors Kuhn E, Laird R

Received 1 March 2014

Accepted for publication 6 May 2014

Published 10 July 2014 Volume 2014:5 Pages 127—142

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AHMT.S48057

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Emily S Kuhn, Robert D Laird

Department of Psychology, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA, USA

Abstract: Family support programs aim to improve parent wellbeing and parenting as well as adolescent mental and behavioral health by addressing the needs of parents of adolescents experiencing or at risk for mental health problems. Family support programs can be part of the treatment for adolescents diagnosed with mental or behavioral health problems, or family support programs can be delivered as prevention programs designed to prevent the onset or escalation of mental or behavioral health problems. This review discusses the rationale for family support programs and describes the range of services provided by family support programs. The primary focus of the review is on evaluating the effectiveness of family support programs as treatments or prevention efforts delivered by clinicians or peers. Two main themes emerged from the review. First, family support programs that included more forms of support evidenced higher levels of effectiveness than family support programs that provided fewer forms of support. Discussion of this theme focuses on individual differences in client needs and program adaptions that may facilitate meeting diverse needs. Second, family support prevention programs appear to be most effective when serving individuals more in need of mental and behavioral health services. Discussion of this theme focuses on the intensity versus breadth of the services provided in prevention programs. More rigorous evaluations of family support programs are needed, especially for peer-delivered family support treatments.

Keywords: intervention, parent, mental and behavioral health

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