Research and Development

The SFP 10-14 (UK) resulted from an adaptation of the original Strengthening Families Programme developed by Dr. Karol Kumpfer at the University of Utah in the United States in 1983. Formerly known as the Iowa Strengthening Families Programme (ISFP), further developed at the University of Iowa in the United States, the long-term aim of the SFP 10-14 is to reduce alcohol and drug use and behavioural problems during adolescence.

We have over 25 years of research on the factors that promote and prevent problem behaviours amongst adolescents to help us know how to effectively intervene in the lives of young people before they engage in behaviour that is likely to have serious long-term consequences for them and for our society.

For most young people, research has shown that the most vulnerable periods are transitions. When young people advance from primary school to secondary school they often face social challenges, such as learning to get along with a wider group of peers. It is at this stage of early adolescence, that young people are likely to encounter alcohol and drug use for the first time.

The main study results that support the programme show:

  • Young people attending the programme had significantly lower rates of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use compared to young people who did not attend the programme (the control group)
  • The differences between programme and control young people actually increased over time, indicating that skills learned and strong parent-child relationships continue to have greater and greater influence
  • Young people attending the programme had significantly fewer conduct problems in school than young people in the control group
  • Parent/caregivers showed gains in specific parenting skills including setting appropriate limits and building a positive relationship with their child
  • Parent/caregivers showed gains on general child management including setting rules and following through with consequences
  • Parent/caregivers increased their skills in General Child Management such as effectively monitoring their child and having appropriate and consistent discipline