Reducing Risk Behavior with Family-Centered Prevention During the Young Adult Years

Elizabeth Stormshak, Allison Caruthers, Krista Chronister, David DeGarmo, Jenna Stapleton, Corrina Falkenstein, Elisa DeVargas, Whitney Nash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Family-centered prevention is effective at reducing risk behavior throughout the life span and promoting healthy development. Despite research that suggests parents continue to play a significant role in the lives of their children during emerging adulthood, very few studies have examined effective family-centered strategies for preventing risk behavior in young adults. Typical prevention efforts for this age group have focused on college students and substance use prevention, with no integration of families or systems of support that may sustain the effects of the intervention. In this study, we evaluated a version of the Family Check-Up (FCU) that was adapted for young adults and their families, the Young Adult Family Check-Up (YA-FCU). Families were randomly assigned to receive the FCU or school as usual during the middle school years. Ten years later, they were offered the YA-FCU, which was adapted for families of emerging adult children. Intent-to-treat and complier average causal effect analyses were used to examine change in young adult risk behavior approximately 1 year after receiving the YA-FCU. Analyses indicated that random assignment alone or simple engagement was not associated with reductions in young adult risk behavior. However, dose-response analyses indicated that the more hours that youth and families were engaged in the YA-FCU, the greater the reductions in young adult risk behavior relative to those who did not engage or engaged very little in the intervention, resulting in a medium effect size of the YA-FCU on risk behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-330
Number of pages10
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Development
  • Emerging adulthood
  • Family intervention
  • Prevention
  • Risk behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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