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Integration of Parenting Skills Education and Interventions in Addiction Treatment

Arria, Amelia M. PhD; Mericle, Amy A. PhD; Rallo, Deanna MA; Moe, Jerry MA; White, William L. MA; Winters, Ken C. PhD; O'Connor, Garrett MD

doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e318270f7b0
Original Research

Objectives: Children of parents with substance use disorders are at risk for various adverse outcomes, and maladaptive parenting behaviors seem to be an important mediator of this risk. Although numerous research studies have highlighted the promise of parenting interventions in modifying parenting behavior, very little is known about the integration of parenting skills education and interventions into addiction treatment programs.

Methods: In this study, a convenience sample of 125 addiction treatment programs in the United States was drawn. A key staff member was interviewed to gather basic information about the extent and nature of parenting skills education and interventions offered at their program. In addition, respondents were asked to rate the importance of parenting skills relative to other addiction treatment priorities.

Results: Descriptive analyses revealed that 43% reported some form of parenting classes, but few used a structured curriculum.

Conclusions: Given the known beneficial influence of effective parenting practices on reducing adverse childhood outcomes, it is surprising that relatively few substance abuse treatment programs have adopted structured parenting skills interventions as part of their standard service offerings. More research is warranted on the extent to which parenting skills interventions are integrated into the continuum of services available to parents with a substance use disorder.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Amelia M. Arria, Treatment Research Institute, 600 Public Ledger Building, 150 S. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia PA 19106. E-mail:

From the Treatment Research Institute (AMA, AAM, and KCW), Philadelphia, PA; Betty Ford Institute (AMA, DR, JM, and GO), Rancho Mirage, CA; Center on Young Adult Health and Development (AMA), University of Maryland School of Public Health, Department of Family Science, College Park, MD; Chestnut Health Systems (WLW), Bloomington, IL; and Department of Psychiatry (KCW), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Supported by the Betty Ford Institute and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (P50-DA027841 and R01-DA14845).

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Received May 29, 2012

Accepted August 25, 2012

© 2013 American Society of Addiction Medicine