Last updated on February 2018

Computer-Assisted Brief Intervention

Brief description of study

Due to the "unmet needs" of substance abuse treatment among court involved but non-incarcerated (CINI) adolescents and their parents, reaching and engaging CINI adolescents in intervention programs addressing marijuana use is important given the significant risk that continued substance use poses for re-arrest and detention. This study will examine the feasibility of implementing one potential model for increasing access to substance use interventions in a juvenile justice setting by using: 1) a computer- assisted intervention addressing marijuana use for adolescents, and 2) a computer program on strategies to improve management of teens who misuse drugs for parents.

Detailed Study Description

Four out of five youth in the juvenile justice system show evidence of being under the influence during their offenses, and over half test positive for substances at the time of their arrest. Further, 92% of arrested juveniles who tested positive for drugs tested positive for marijuana. Although some treatment programs for juvenile offenders exist, most have focused on detained and incarcerated juveniles, who only represent one third of arrested youth. As a result, little is known about how to improve the continuum of care for the remaining two-thirds of this population, which consists of court involved but non-incarcerated youth (CINI). Court recommendations and referrals for CINI have mostly relied on outside community-based services, thus decreasing the likelihood CINI youth and their families will take the additional steps to seek intervention. Given that motivational interventions (MI) are brief, relatively easy to implement and have a greater reach than typical substance use treatment programs, researchers have recently directed their focus to interactive, computer-delivered MI protocols to further increase their reach as well as facilitate their implementation. Online interventions can be delivered at a lower cost, with less demand on staff time for training, and increased protocol fidelity, portability, and ease of use. While counselor-delivered MIs for adolescent substance use have been tested fairly widely, only a few studies have been published on the efficacy of computer-assisted MIs. Further, little research has focused on the efficacy of such interventions with marijuana using adolescents in general, and more specifically with CINI adolescents. In addition, combining such interventions for adolescents with brief parenting interventions is important but yet rarely implemented. Therefore, this application proposes to examine the feasibility and acceptability of integrating a computer-assisted,, brief intervention protocol into the juvenile intake procedures at the Rhode Island Family Court (RIFC) for marijuana using adolescents and their parents. Following an open trial of the brief protocol, , 80 adolescents who screen positive for marijuana use at juvenile intake will be recruited from the RIFC and randomly assigned to one of two conditions: 1) a computer-assisted adolescent MI plus an online parenting program ; or 2) usual care. Outcomes will be examined at 3 and 6-month follow-ups. This small trial will provide some initial evidence regarding utility of this protocol with CINI youth and whether a larger, fully powered trial is indicated in the future.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03107117

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Kathleen Kemp, PhD

Rhode Island Family Court
Providence, RI United States
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