Family-based approaches to prevention: The state of the field

Mark J. Van Ryzin, Gregory M. Fosco

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


This book was designed to provide the reader with an overview of the field of family-based prevention science. Family-based prevention programs focus on providing education to families, improving the quality of family relationships, and teaching key family management skills. The goal of these programs is to transform the way parents manage and monitor child behavior, the way the family negotiates conflicts and solves problems, and the affective quality of the family environment. These programs view the family as the most influential and malleable context from which to promote long-lasting behavioral and emotional adjustment among children and youth. By improving parenting practices and family relationships, these programs can promote positive outcomes by reducing salient risk factors and promoting more effective family functioning. Several systematic reviews and meta-analyses have found family-based programs to be effective at preventing or reducing a wide range of behavioral problems among children, including externalizing and disruptive behavior, attention deficit/ hyperactivity, and oppositional defiant disorder, while also promoting social competencies and academic performance (Maughan, Christiansen, Jenson, Olympia, & Clark, 2005; Nowak & Heinrichs, 2008; Reyno & McGrath, 2006; Sanders, Kirby, Tellegen, & Day, 2013; UNODC, 2010). Reviewers have drawn similar conclusions with regards to adolescents, finding significant reductions in behavioral problems such as delinquency, violence, substance abuse, depression/ anxiety, and HIV risk as well as enhancements to family and peer relations (Brody et al., 2010, 2012; Dusenbury, 2000; Farrington & Welsh, 2003; Foxcroft & Tsertsvadze, 2012; Kumpfer, Alvarado, & Whiteside, 2003; Lochman & van den Steenhoven, 2002; Petrie, Bunn, & Byrne, 2007; UNODC, 2010). Family-based programs have also been found to be effective at promoting a wide range of effective parent behaviors (Kazdin, 1997; Kumpfer et al., 2003; Sanders et al., 2013; UNODC, 2010) and preventing child maltreatment (Brook, McDonald & Yan, 2012; Lundahl, Nimer, & Parsons, 2006).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFamily-Based Prevention Programs for Children and Adolescents
Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Research, and Large-Scale Dissemination
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781317655725
ISBN (Print)9781315764917
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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