The Positive Action Family Program: A Pilot Randomized Trial
We report results from the first randomized trial of the Positive Action intensive family program. We randomly assigned approximately 1/3rd of 29 families who were court mandated to attend a family program to a wait-listed control condition. Eighteen families (parents and teens) attended 7 weekly meetings, with parents and teens attending separate sessions for the first half of each session and then attending a joint session for the second half.
We surveyed parents before the program and at immediate posttest with 16 items assessing family conflict, family cohesion and parent-child bonding (alphas between .74 and .79).
Data was also collected from 45 and 96 additional parents who participated in two subsequent rounds of the program and 24 youth participated in one of those rounds. Results suggest that the PA intensive family program had immediate positive effects on all three outcomes with effect sizes between .34 and .59.
Significant interactions with pretest scores for conflict and cohesion indicated stronger effects for those families at highest risk among this high-risk sample. Data from subsequent pretest-posttest only groups replicated these results. We conclude that this first randomized trial of the Positive Action intensive family program and the pretest-posttest replications provide results worthy of further follow-up.