The Adolescent Transitions Program (ATP) is a parent training program developed by
Dishion and Kavanagh (in press) as a selected intervention for at risk early adolescents. The
parent˝focused curriculum is based on family management skills of encouragement, limit
setting and supervision, problem solving, and improved family relationship and
communication patterns. These skills were determined by 20 years of clinical and research
investigations at the Oregon Social Learning Center to be critical for healthy child adjustment
(Patterson, 1992) and follow a step-wise approach toward effective parenting skills and
strategies for maintaining change. The long- term goals of the program are to arrest the
development of teen antisocial behaviors and drug experimentation. Intermediate goals of the
program are to improve parent family management and communication skills. The curriculum
has been targeted at a broad cross section of parents. Group leaders are trained to adapt
the curriculum to be sensitive to the education level and cultural orientation of families.
The ATP includes twelve parent group meetings and four individual family meetings. There
are also monthly booster sessions for at least three months following completion of the group.
Parents meet for 90 minutes once a week. Groups are designed to provide a balance
between skill development and group discussion. Each meeting includes discussion and
practice of a family management and a communication skill. Parents participate in group
exercises (either oral or written depending on group needs), discussion, role- plays and
setting up home practice activities. There are six accompanying video tapes that demonstrate
family management and communication skills using a wrong way ˝right way format. The
group is lead by one or two leaders depending on the size and needs of the group.
Additionally, a parent consultant (a parent who has been through the program) helps
facilitate discussion and practice and provides a bridge between leaders and participants.
Group work is supported by weekly mid week phone contact by the group leader and four
individual family meetings. Parents are invited to meet with the group leader at the beginning
of group to establish family goals for the program. There are three additional individual
meetings available for families after the encouragement, limit setting and problem solving
components of the program. These sessions are designed to help families tailor make skills to
their individual needs and problem solve strategies for barriers that interfere with effective
Data from a rigorous randomized control study of 220 parents showed that the program was
effective in reducing observed negative parent-child interactions. Teacher reports showed
decreases in antisocial behaviors at school. The program was effective in reducing youth
smoking behaviors at one year follow up.(Dishion & Andrews, 1995) These results have
been replicated in over 300 families in Oregon communities. (Irvine et al 2000) All of the
studies have reported high parent satisfaction with ATP. The program is currently being used
and evaluated in numerous schools and mental health settings across the country.
Groups can be run by one or two leaders depending on the size and needs of the group. One
leader for every l0 families is recommended. Leaders should be masters or bachelor level
with a high degree of skill or experience working with parents and have a background in
education or psychology or a related field. Leaders need to be available to run weekly
groups, conduct individual family meetings and make mid week supportive phone calls.
Follow up phone supervision may be useful in assisting leaders with difficult implementation
situations. A parent consultant is recommended to facilitate group process and parent
participation. Parent consultants are paid $10.00 an hour. Groups can be conducted in
community centers, mental health settings, or schools. If a group is run at school teachers
can function as co leaders. A leaders guide and parent workbooks are needed for each
group. Parent incentives in the form of family activities (dinners, movies, bowling etc) are
given to one or two families at each meeting. Snacks are a part of each meeting. Child care
for younger children is also recommended either in the form of babysitting money or an on
site place for childcare. Videotapes need to be purchased separately.
Training can occur on site or at the University of Oregon Family Center. On site costs
include $1000 per day plus travel expenses (hotel, airfare, ground travel, per diem). On site
training is recommended to facilitate the best technical assistance for individual
implementation issues. Training can occur for any number of participants up to 15. The
leaders guide, workbooks are not included in the training costs. Costs for training conducted
at the University Family Center are negotiated on an individual basis.