Purpose: We evaluate the efficacy of a short family intervention in reducing sexual risk behavior, drug use, and delinquent behaviors among homeless youth. Methods: A randomized controlled trial of 151 families with a homeless adolescent aged 12 to 17 years. Between March 2006 and June 2009, adolescents were recruited from diverse sites in Southern California and were assessed at recruitment (baseline), and at 3, 6, and 12 months later. Families were randomly assigned to an intervention condition with five weekly home-based intervention sessions or a control condition (standard care). Main outcome measures reflect self-reported sexual risk behavior, substance use, and delinquent behaviors over the past 90 days. Results: Sexual risk behavior (e.g., mean number of partners; p <.001), alcohol use (p =.003), hard drug use (p <.001), and delinquent behaviors (p =.001) decreased significantly more during 12 months in the intervention condition compared with the control condition. Marijuana use, however, significantly increased in the intervention condition compared with the control condition (p <.001). Conclusions: An intervention to reengage families of homeless youth has significant benefits in reducing risk over 12 months.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health