Multidimensional family therapy (MDFT) is a comprehensive, evidence-based, developmentally oriented, family-centered treatment for adolescent substance abuse and behavioral problems. Developed within clinical research studies, the majority of MDFT studies were conducted in real-world treatment settings. The MDFT research program began in 1985, and studies included substance abuse, mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice care sectors, as well as treatment settings of various intensity types, such as standard outpatient, residential, and day treatment programs. Rigorous controlled clinical trials established the treatment’s clinical effectiveness, including trials conducted by independent investigators in the United States and in a multinational study in five western European countries. This entry reviews the conceptual framework, clinical principles, and features of MDFT.

Conceptual Framework

Four areas of science-based knowledge—(1) the risk and protective factor ...

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