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New Project to Analyze Interventions for Minority and Female Teen Substance Abuse

Recent studies have shown an important factor for the successful treatment of adolescent substance abuse is the combined focus on the family and the individual youth. These findings are largely due to trials of an evidence-based treatment intervention known as Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT). MDFT has proven to be very successful in reducing or eliminating adolescent substance abuse and other problem behavior, and to improve overall family functioning.

While the MDFT trials revealed successful outcomes for a broad adolescent population, there are insufficient findings to show if effectiveness is the same when targeting minority and female adolescents. These answers are coming soon.

Paul Greenbaum, PhDDr. Paul Greenbaum from the USF Department of Child & Family Studies is collaborating with MDFT researchers in Miami and Texas on a new federally funded grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). The study, Integrative Data Analysis of Gender and Ethnic Differences in MDFT Randomized Control Trials, will combine individual data from over 1500 families who participated in 10 MDFT randomized controlled trials.

The original data from each study, rather than the usual study summary statistics, will be analyzed.  Greenbaum says this use of the individual participant’s data, in conjunction with the use of a latent variable measurement model, represents a new type of meta-analysis that will  combine the results of several studies to address a set of related research hypotheses.

“By doing both of these things, we are able to increase the power to test the effects among targeted populations,” said Dr. Greenbaum.

Dr. Craig Henderson from Sam Houston University in Texas and Dr. Greenbaum at USF received the grant. Dr. Greenbaum, who has worked with Dr. Henderson on various projects over the last six years, is the USF PI and will construct the measurement models and lead the analysis. Dr. Wei Wang, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics at the USF College of Public Health will serve as Co-Investigator. USF will receive just over  $100,000 for the first year of the study.

Collaborators from the University of Miami include Dr. Howard Liddle, Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Public Health, Psychology, and Counseling Psychology, and developer of MDFT; Dr. Gayle Dakof, Research Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, and Mr. Anders Alexandersson, Data Analyst.

Consultants will include Stanley J. Huey Jr., Associate Professor of Psychology and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, Dr. David Mackinnon, Professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University, and Dr. C. Hendricks Brown, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the  University of Miami.


The Department of Child and Family Studies (CFS) at the USF College of Behavioral & Community Sciences is committed to improving the well-being of individuals, children, and families within communities across the country through promoting respect, inclusion, development, achievement, mental health, and an optimum quality of life.

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