New Study Shows Decrease in Mid-schooler Problem Behaviours When Parents are Given Guidance Before the Child Enters Middle-schoosl

At Adolescent Counseling Services, one of our key philosophies is that when the entire family is involved in resolving an issue faced by an adolescent, the outcome is positive and lasting. A recent study published in the February 2012  Journal of Adolescent Health put this theory to test. The study“Engaging Parents in the Family Check-Up in Middle School: Longitudinal Effects on Family Conflict and Problem Behavior Through the High School Transition” found that when parents receive guidance, feedback, and education during the critical stage when adolescents are transitioning, their teens benefit and have fewer behavioral issues overall.

The study followed 593 seventh and eighth graders and their families in a randomized controlled trial. Families were either assigned to a program termed the “Family Check-Up (FCU)—a short program that provides feedback and skill training for parents”, or they were assigned to a control group which was called “school as usual”. The researchers gathered data from the adolescents’ self-reports and also videotaped the parents interacting with their teens at home and at school. Both parents and teens received feedback about their interaction with one another. The participating families only had to engage in  an average of 4.5 hours of treatment time.

Dr. Garry Sigman, Medical Director of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, finds this study and its results uplifting. “Most adolescents with behavioral problems see professionals after they are in trouble instead of beforehand, which is why this program is unique; there are few preventive programs like it… I only wish more young adolescents would have the opportunity for their parents to get the type of education offered by the Family Check-Up.  To be sure, it doesn’t happen very often in primary care offices.”

The lead author of the study, Mark J. Van Ryzin, Ph.D., of the University of Oregon says “If support and services like the Family Check-Up are available, it can help implement reasonable strategies for change… The key is to involve the whole family in the process, not just the adolescent.”

Adolescent Counseling Services provides affordable counseling, psychotherapy, substance abuse treatment and preventive education to adolescents and their families  in our three community programs: the On-Campus Counseling Program, Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Program, and After-School Counseling Program. For more information about  ACS programs visit our website or contact us at  to learn more.

For more on this article “Teens have fewer behavioral issues when parents stay involved” by Sharyn Alden. Published January 20, 2012 online at

Or you can purchase a copy of the study at the Journal of Adolescent Health’s website in the February 2012 issue vol 50 no 2. “Engaging Parents in the Family Check-Up in Middle School: Longitudinal Effects on Family Conflict and Problem Behavior Through the High School Transition”

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