Decades of research demonstrate that childhood exposure to traumatic events, particularly interpersonal violence experiences (IPV; sexual abuse, physical abuse, witnessing violence), increases risk for negative behavioral and emotional outcomes, including substance use problems (SUP) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite this well-established link—including empirical support for shared etiological and functional connections between SUP and PTSD –the field has been void of a gold standard treatment for adolescent populations. To address this gap, our team recently completed a large randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of Risk Reduction through Family Therapy (RRFT), an integrative and exposure-based risk-reduction and treatment approach for adolescents who have experienced IPV and other traumatic events. The purpose of this paper is to provide a detailed description of the design and methods of this RCT designed to reduce SUP, PTSD symptoms, and related risk behaviors, with outcomes measured from pre-treatment through 18 months post-entry. Specifically, the recruitment and sampling procedures, assessment measures and methods, description of the intervention, and planned statistical approaches to evaluating the full range of outcomes are detailed. Clinical and research implications of this work are also discussed.
- Adolescence, substance use
- HIV risk behavior
- Traumatic events, interpersonal violence
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)