Prevention Science

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 321–330 | Cite as

Reducing Risk Behavior with Family-Centered Prevention During the Young Adult Years

  • Elizabeth StormshakEmail author
  • Allison Caruthers
  • Krista Chronister
  • David DeGarmo
  • Jenna Stapleton
  • Corrina Falkenstein
  • Elisa DeVargas
  • Whitney Nash


Family-centered prevention is effective at reducing risk behavior throughout the life span and promoting healthy development. Despite research that suggests parents continue to play a significant role in the lives of their children during emerging adulthood, very few studies have examined effective family-centered strategies for preventing risk behavior in young adults. Typical prevention efforts for this age group have focused on college students and substance use prevention, with no integration of families or systems of support that may sustain the effects of the intervention. In this study, we evaluated a version of the Family Check-Up (FCU) that was adapted for young adults and their families, the Young Adult Family Check-Up (YA-FCU). Families were randomly assigned to receive the FCU or school as usual during the middle school years. Ten years later, they were offered the YA-FCU, which was adapted for families of emerging adult children. Intent-to-treat and complier average causal effect analyses were used to examine change in young adult risk behavior approximately 1 year after receiving the YA-FCU. Analyses indicated that random assignment alone or simple engagement was not associated with reductions in young adult risk behavior. However, dose-response analyses indicated that the more hours that youth and families were engaged in the YA-FCU, the greater the reductions in young adult risk behavior relative to those who did not engage or engaged very little in the intervention, resulting in a medium effect size of the YA-FCU on risk behavior.


Family intervention Risk behavior Emerging adulthood Development Prevention 



This research was funded by NIDA and NICHD (grants DA 018374 and HD 075150 to the first author).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

There authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects, and procedures were approved by the University of Oregon IRB.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Prevention Science InstituteUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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