Capable Families and Youth

The CaFaY project, initiated in 1997, includes the delivery and testing of a multicompontent preventive intervention based on two evidence-based programs designed to prevent adolescent substance misuse and other problem behaviors. In addition, the CaFaY project seeks to promote linkages among families, schools, and communities.

The multicomponent preventive intervention included the school-based Life Skills Training (LST) and the Strengthening Families Program For Parents and Youth 10-14 (SFP 10-14). The 36 rural Northeast Iowa schools were randomly assigned to three conditions: those receiving both the LST and SFP 10-14 preventive interventions, those receiving LST only, and a control condition that did not receive the interventions. Preventive interventions were delivered to students and their families when the students were in the 7th grade, with booster sessions delivered the following year and additional booster sessions offered to a randomly-selected half of the schools during 11th grade. Seventh graders and their families from 36 rural Iowa school districts participated in the CaFaY project pretest assessments, and follow-up assessments have been collected annually from 8th grade, through age 22, with two additional data collections at ages 25 and 27.

In addition to in-school written questionnaires for all participating students, multimethod multi-informant measurement procedures were employed with participating families and their student in the study through high school. Following high school, young adults participated in computer-assisted telephone interviews and mailed questionnaires; parents were no longer surveyed. When the young adults indicated they were married or cohabitating with a partner, both were asked to participate in questionnaires about their relationship.   

As expected, research has demonstrated positive effects for both the LST+SFP 10-14 and LST-only intervention participants, compared with the control condition participants, on:

  •  Misuse of substances in adolescence and young adulthood.
  •  Internalizing and depression symptoms in adolescence and young adulthood.
  •  Relationship problems and other quality of life measures in young adulthood.
  •  Recruitment and engagement
  •  Research results also include testing of the mediating mechanisms of the interventions, the moderating role of baseline risk, and etiological research on risk and protective factors for substance misuse.