Development, Research and Studies

SFP10- 14 (UK) Development

The SFP10-14 (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 called the Iowa Strengthening Families Programme (ISFP), further developed at the University of Iowa in the United States, the long-term aim of the SFP10-14 is reduced alcohol and drug use and behaviour problems during adolescence.

SFP 10-14 Scientific Evidence

The SFP 10-14 has been tested in a high quality scientific research study in Iowa in the United States. This study and the SFP 10-14 have been highlighted in an International Cochrane Collaboration systematic evidence review funded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.K. Alcohol Education and Research Council (AERC).

The review reported that the SFP 10-14 was an effective and promising prevention intervention. The number of young people who needed to be treated in order to prevent one additional bad outcome (NNT) was 9 for preventing drinking and drunkenness initiation four years later. NNT for the other interventions is 18 for Preparing for Drug-free Years, 27 for Smart Moves and 32 for Life Skills.

This evidence review was presented at the EU / WHO Ministerial Conference held in Stockholm 2001 which led to the Stockholm Declaration on “Young people and Alcohol”.

A summary of this evidence review is available as an AERC Alcohol Insight ‘Primary Prevention for Alcohol Misuse in Young People.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) have also highlighted the potential of the SFP 10-14 in their reports on alcohol misuse prevention and cancer prevention.

In 2006, another Cochrane review pointed to the potential of the SFP 10-14 for prevention drug misuse amongst young people. Both Cochrane reviews highlighted the importance of other scientific studies to replicate the findings from the Iowa study.

Description of the SFP 10-14 major longitudinal Study

  • Evaluated through Project Family at the Institute for Social and Behavioural Research at Iowa State University
  • Tested with 442 families who live in areas with a high percentage of economically-stressed families
  • Participants were randomly assigned and comparisons were made between programme participants and control families
  • The study has followed the youth and their parents from 6th through 12th grade

Study results were as follows:

  • 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
  • Parents showed gains in specific parenting skills including setting appropriate limits and building a positive relationship with their child
  • Parents showed gains on general child management including setting rules and following through with consequences
  • Parents increased their skills in General Child Management such as effectively monitoring their child and having appropriate and consistent discipline


For more information about the research please click on the following links:

Cultural accommodation of the Strengthening Families Programme 10–14: UK Phase I study
Debby Allen, Lindsey Coombes, David R. Foxcroft


Longer-term primary prevention for alcohol misuse in young people: a systematic review.PDF
by D. R. Foxcroft, D. Ireland, D. J. Lister-Sharp, G. Lowe & R. Breen, School of Health and Social Care, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK.


Reducing Adolescents’ Aggressive and Hostile Behaviours, Randomized Trial Effects of a Brief Family Intervention, 4 Years Past Baseline.PDF
Richard L. Spoth, PhD; Cleve Redmond, PhD; Chungyeol Shin, PhD.


Randomized Trial of Brief Family Interventions for General Populations: Adolescent Substance Use Outcomes 4 Years Following Baseline.PDF
Richard L. Spoth, Cleve Redmond, Chungyeol Shin, Iowa State University.


Increasing School Success Through Partnership-Based Family Competency Training: Experimental Study of Long-Term Outcomes.PDF
Richard Spoth (Iowa State University), G. Kevin Randall (Bradley University), Chungyeol Shin (Iowa State University).


Preventing Alcohol and Drug Misuse in young people: Adaptation and Testing of the Strengthening Families Programme 10-14 (SFP10-14) for use in the United Kingdom (external link to Alcohol Research UK).
Debby Allen, Lindsey Coombes, David Foxcroft, School of Health and Social Care, Oxford Brookes University.

Other Studies in the UK

Barnsley, UK

Barnsley Primary Care Trust, through its Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service co-ordinated multi-agency parenting work (‘Altogether Now’), supported by Sara Male and Megan Marsh to introduce the original SFP 10-14 programme into Barnsley in 2001, the first area in the U.K. The positive outcomes of its practical application in Barnsley have contributed to the development of the revised version of the SFP for use in the U.K.

For more information on the Barnsley study please see Implementation of the Strengthening Families Program (SFP) 10-14 in Barnsley: The Perspectives of Facilitators and Families (external link to Alcohol Research UK).
Lindsey Coombes, Debby Allen and David Foxcroft, School of Health and Social Care, Oxford Brookes University and Megan Marsh Altogether Now Parenting Team, Barnsley

Cardiff, UK

The key findings of this evaluation, taken together with existing research suggest that the SFP10-14 has significant potential to prevent long term substance misuse and other anti-social problems in young people. It has also demonstrated its broader value as a family, parenting and youth intervention, which has positive impacts on family functioning, parental skills, and goal setting by young people.

For more information on the Cardiff study please read Assessing the potential of the Cardiff Strengthening Families Programme 10-14 (UK) as a national programme for Wales.PDF