Intensive family intervention programs: Tailoring interventions to family clinical profiles

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*Desautels J, Touchette L, Pauzé R. (2020). Intensive family intervention programs: Tailoring interventions to family clinical profiles. Children and Youth Services Review, 116, 105268.


Introduction : Intensive family intervention programs intended for families in a crisis situation aim at preventing the emergency placement of adolescents with emotional or behavior problems. However, few studies have focused on intervention tailoring to the clinical profiles of families, although this is a key principle in these programs. Objectives : This treatment-process research aims to (1) identify profiles of families based on youth and family characteristics and (2) compare the intervention received by families with different clinical profiles. Methodology : The study sample includes 237 families that received services under the Crise-Ado-Famille-Enfance (CAFE) program, an intensive family intervention program developed to respond to family crisis situations. Analysis : A latent profile analysis (LPA) was used to distinguish profiles of families based on adolescent and family characteristics. The Bolck-Croon-Hagenaars (BCH) method has helped compare these profiles on program (duration, dosage, intensity) and practice elements (main subject of each session with family). Results : LPA has led to four distinct profiles: a profile with particularly severe problems across all variables, (n = 22), a profile with less severe problems (n = 95) and two profiles with moderate problems, one (n = 61) with more relational problems and the other (n = 59) with problems related more to the adolescent’s behaviors. The BCH results showed significant differences regarding program and practice elements received by families. Discussion : Overall, findings indicate that intensive family intervention programs target families presenting a wide range of difficulties and highlight a certain lack of adjustment of the intervention to the clinical profiles of families. Implications for both research and practice are discussed.