Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Adolescents in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Thomas L. SextonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_424

Name of Family Form

Adolescents in Families


The systemic approach of couple and family therapy has always viewed adolescents as a central part of how families function, struggle, and are able to ultimately make successful clinical changes. Life cycle models of family development suggest that the stable relational patters established in families can be disrupted as younger children become adolescents. Changing adolescent behavior and the ability of the family relational system to adapt can be critical stress points for families. In some cases, adolescent behavior and the resulting reactions from parents create family conflict, negativity, and within-family blame that make it difficult for families to successfully solve daily problems. In some cases, adolescent behavior problems emerge overwhelming the family’s ability to manage. The behavioral expression of a youth’s struggles can result in violence, criminal behavior, and other consequences for not only the youth but also...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Alexander, J. F., Pugh, C., & Sexton, T. L. (2000). Functional family therapy. In D. S. Elliott (Ed.), Blueprints for violence prevention (Book 3) (2nd ed.). Boulder: Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado.Google Scholar
  2. Alexander, J. F., Waldron, Robbins, M. & Need, A. (2013). Functional family therapy for adolescent behavior problems. American Psychological Association: Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  3. Bor, W. (2004). Prevention and treatment of childhood and adolescent aggression and antisocial behavior: A selective review. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 38, 373–380.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Botvin, G. J., & Kantor, L. W. (2000). Preventing alcohol and tobacco use through life skills training. Alcohol Research & Health, 24(4), 250–257.Google Scholar
  5. Botvin, G. (1998). Preventing adolescent drug abuse through Life Skills Training: Theory, methods, and effectiveness. Social Programs That Work. 225–257.Google Scholar
  6. Campbell, S. B., & Ewing, L. J. (1990). Follow-up of hard-to-manage preschoolers – adjustment at age 9 and predictors of continuing symptoms. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 31(6), 871–889.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Elliott, D. S. (Ed.). (1998). Blueprints for violence prevention. Boulder: Blueprints Publications/University of Colorado, Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.Google Scholar
  8. Frick, P. J. (1998). Conduct disorders and severe antisocial behavior. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Henggeler, S. W., Henggeler, G. B., Melton, L.A. Smith, S.K. & Schoenwald, J. H. (1993). Hanley Family preservation using multisystemic treatment: Long-term follow-up to a clinical trial with serious juvenile offenders. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 2, pp. 283–293.Google Scholar
  10. Henggeler, S. W., Henggeler, S. G., Pickrel, M. J. (1999). BrondinoMultisystemic treatment of substance abusing and dependent delinquents: Outcomes, treatment fidelity, and transportability. Mental Health Services Research, 1, 171–184.Google Scholar
  11. Hutchings, J., Gardner, F., & Lane, E. (2004). Making evidence-based interventions work. In C. Sutton, D. Utting, & D. Farrington (Eds.), Support from the start: Working with young children and their families to reduce the risks of crime and antisocial behaviour (pp. 69–79). Nottingham: Department for Education and Skills. Collaborative, www.tacinc.org.Google Scholar
  12. Hutchings, J., & Lane, E. (2005). Parenting and the development and prevention of child mental health problems. . Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 18(4), 386–391.Google Scholar
  13. Kazdin, A. E. (1997). Practitioner review: Psychological treatments for conduct disorder in children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38, 161–178.Google Scholar
  14. Kazdin, A. E. (2004). Psychotherapy for children and adolescents. In M. Lambert (Ed.), Bergin and Garfield’s handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change (5th ed., pp. 543–589). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  15. Kazdin, A. E. (2018). Innovations in psychosocial interventions and their delivery: Leveraging cutting-edge science to improve the world's mental health. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kazdin, A. E., Siegel, T. C., & Bass, D. (1992). Cognitive problem-solving skills training and parent management training in the treatment of antisocial behavior in children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60(5), 733–747.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. Kazdin, A. E., & Whitley, M. K. (2003). Treatment of parental stress to enhance therapeutic change among children referred for aggressive and anti- social behavior. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 504–515.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006x.71.3.504
  18. Knutson, J. F., DeGarmo, D. S., & Reid, J. B. (2004). Social disadvantage and neglectful parenting as precursors to the development of antisocial and aggressive child behavior: Testing a theoretical model. Aggressive Behavior, 30, 187–205.Google Scholar
  19. Liddle, H. A., Bray, J. H., Levant, R. F., & Santisteban, D. A. (2002). Family psychology intervention science: An emerging area of science and practice. In H. A. Liddle, D. A. Santisteban, R. F. Levant, & J. H. Bray (Eds.), Family Psychology: Science-Based Interventions (pp. 3–15). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  20. Olds, D., Henderson, C. R., Cole, R., Eckenrode, J., Kitzman, H., Lucky, D., Pettitt, L., Sidora, K., Morris, P., & Powers, J. (1998). Long-term effects of nurse home visitation on children’s criminal and antisocial behavior: 15 year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 280(14), 1238–1244.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Patterson, G. R., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (1984). The correlation of family management practices and delinquency. Child Development, 55(4), 1299–1307.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Repetti, R. L., Taylor, S. E., & Seeman, T. (2002). Risky families: Family social environments and the mental and physical health of offspring. Psychological Bulletin, 128(2), 330–366.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Sexton, T. L. (2015). Functional family therapy: Evidence based, clinical specific, and creative clinical decision making. In T. L. Sexton & J. Lebow (Eds.), Handbook of family therapy (pp. 250–270). New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sexton, T. L., & Datachi, C. C. (2014). The development and evolution of family therapy research: Its impact on practice, current status, and future directions. Family Process, 53(3), 415–433.  https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12084.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. Sexton, T. L., McEnery, A., & Wilson, L. R. (2011). Family research: understanding families, family-based clinical interventions, and clinically useful outcomes. In J. Thomas & M. Hersen (Eds.), Understanding Research in Clinical and Counseling Psychology. Erlbaum: New Jersey.Google Scholar
  26. Sexton, T. L., & Stanton, M. (2016). Systems theories. In J. Norcoross & G. Vandenbos (Eds.), APA handbook of clinical psychology. Washington, DC: APA.Google Scholar
  27. Sexton, T. L., Alexander, J. F., & Mease, A. C. (2003). Levels of evidence for the models and mechanisms of therapeutic change in couple and family therapy. In M. Lambert (Ed.), Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  28. Sexton, T. L., Gillman, L., & Johnson, C. (2005). Evidence based practices in the prevention and treatment of adolescent behavior problems. In T. P. Gullotta & A. Gerald (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent behavioral problems: Evidence-based approaches to prevention. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  29. Sexton, T. L., & Alexander, J. F. (2002). Family based empirically supported interventions. The Counseling Psychologist, 30(2), 1–8.Google Scholar
  30. Sexton, T. L., & Alexander, J. F. (2006). Functional Family Therapy for Externalizing Disorders in Adolescents. In J. Lebow (Ed). Handbook of Clinical Family Therapy (pp. 164–194). New Jersey: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  31. Sexton, T. L., Schuster, R., & Peterson, H. (2007). The treatment and prevention of oppositional defiant and conduct disorders in children. In T. P. Gullotta & A. Gerald (Eds.), Handbook of child behavior disorders. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  32. Sexton, T. L. (2012). The challenges, focus, and future potential of systemic thinking in couple and family psychology. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 1(1), 61–65.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0027513
  33. Sexton, T. L., & Turner, C. T. (2010). The effectiveness of functional family therapy for youth with behavioral problems in a community practice setting. Journal of family psychology, 24.Google Scholar
  34. Sexton, T. L., Datachi-Phillips, C., Evans, L. E., LaFollette, J., & Wright, L. (2013). The effectiveness of couple and family therapy interventions. In M. Lambert (Ed.), Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  35. Webster-Stratton, C. (1990). Stress: A potential disruptor of parent perceptions and family interactions. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 19, 302–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FFTBloomingtonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Farrah Hughes
    • 1
  • Allen Sabey
    • 2
  1. 1.Employee Assistance ProgramMcLeod HealthFlorenceUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA