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Strengthening Families for Parents and Youth 10-14

Public Health & Prevention: Home- or Family-based
Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2023.  Literature review updated August 2018.
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Strengthening Families for Parents and Youth 10-14 (also known as the Iowa Strengthening Families Program) aims to reduce behavior problems and substance use by enhancing parenting skills, parent-child relationships, and family communication. Parents and youth attend weekly group sessions lasting two hours for seven weeks. Each session includes a separate, concurrent one-hour parent and youth skills-building session followed by a one-hour family session. A trained group leader uses Strengthening Families curriculum and videos to guide each session. The studies in this analysis included middle school students and their families. On average, 11 families participated in each group.
For an overview of WSIPP's Benefit-Cost Model, please see this guide. The estimates shown are present value, life cycle benefits and costs. All dollars are expressed in the base year chosen for this analysis (2022). The chance the benefits exceed the costs are derived from a Monte Carlo risk analysis. The details on this, as well as the economic discount rates and other relevant parameters are described in our Technical Documentation.
Benefit-Cost Summary Statistics Per Participant
Benefits to:
Taxpayers $1,181 Benefits minus costs $3,183
Participants $1,469 Benefit to cost ratio $5.87
Others $1,200 Chance the program will produce
Indirect ($14) benefits greater than the costs 60%
Total benefits $3,836
Net program cost ($653)
Benefits minus cost $3,183

^WSIPP’s benefit-cost model does not monetize this outcome.

Meta-analysis is a statistical method to combine the results from separate studies on a program, policy, or topic in order to estimate its effect on an outcome. WSIPP systematically evaluates all credible evaluations we can locate on each topic. The outcomes measured are the types of program impacts that were measured in the research literature (for example, crime or educational attainment). Treatment N represents the total number of individuals or units in the treatment group across the included studies.

An effect size (ES) is a standard metric that summarizes the degree to which a program or policy affects a measured outcome. If the effect size is positive, the outcome increases. If the effect size is negative, the outcome decreases. See Estimating Program Effects Using Effect Sizes for additional information.

Adjusted effect sizes are used to calculate the benefits from our benefit cost model. WSIPP may adjust effect sizes based on methodological characteristics of the study. For example, we may adjust effect sizes when a study has a weak research design or when the program developer is involved in the research. The magnitude of these adjustments varies depending on the topic area.

WSIPP may also adjust the second ES measurement. Research shows the magnitude of some effect sizes decrease over time. For those effect sizes, we estimate outcome-based adjustments which we apply between the first time ES is estimated and the second time ES is estimated. We also report the unadjusted effect size to show the effect sizes before any adjustments have been made. More details about these adjustments can be found in our Technical Documentation.

Meta-Analysis of Program Effects
Outcomes measured Treatment age No. of effect sizes Treatment N Adjusted effect sizes(ES) and standard errors(SE) used in the benefit - cost analysis Unadjusted effect size (random effects model)
First time ES is estimated Second time ES is estimated
ES SE Age ES SE Age ES p-value
12 1 161 -0.055 0.118 13 -0.055 0.118 23 -0.144 0.223
12 2 223 -0.022 0.136 12 -0.022 0.136 13 -0.058 0.680
12 1 61 0.121 0.262 12 0.121 0.262 13 0.121 0.644
12 1 161 -0.005 0.118 13 n/a n/a n/a -0.012 0.919
12 1 62 0.000 0.261 12 0.000 0.261 13 0.000 1.000
12 2 514 -0.045 0.098 13 -0.045 0.098 18 -0.080 0.414
12 2 514 0.010 0.125 13 0.010 0.125 18 -0.072 0.735
12 1 147 -0.035 0.224 13 -0.035 0.224 18 -0.091 0.690
12 1 62 0.000 0.261 12 0.000 0.261 13 0.000 1.000
12 3 675 -0.037 0.061 13 -0.020 0.038 16 -0.072 0.235
12 1 161 -0.027 0.118 13 -0.027 0.118 15 -0.071 0.549
12 1 367 -0.025 0.293 13 -0.025 0.293 18 -0.025 0.933
12 1 367 -0.071 0.253 13 -0.071 0.253 23 -0.071 0.781
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1In addition to the outcomes measured in the meta-analysis table, WSIPP measures benefits and costs estimated from other outcomes associated with those reported in the evaluation literature. For example, empirical research demonstrates that high school graduation leads to reduced crime. These associated measures provide a more complete picture of the detailed costs and benefits of the program.

2“Others” includes benefits to people other than taxpayers and participants. Depending on the program, it could include reductions in crime victimization, the economic benefits from a more educated workforce, and the benefits from employer-paid health insurance.

3“Indirect benefits” includes estimates of the net changes in the value of a statistical life and net changes in the deadweight costs of taxation.
Detailed Monetary Benefit Estimates Per Participant
Affected outcome: Resulting benefits:1 Benefits accrue to:
Taxpayers Participants Others2 Indirect3 Total
Crime Criminal justice system $456 $0 $1,115 $228 $1,798
Externalizing behavior symptoms K-12 special education $35 $0 $0 $17 $52
Health care associated with externalizing behavior symptoms $76 $22 $79 $38 $215
Problem alcohol use Labor market earnings associated with problem alcohol use $611 $1,440 $0 $0 $2,051
Property loss associated with problem alcohol use $0 $4 $7 $0 $11
Mortality associated with problem alcohol $2 $4 $0 $29 $35
Internalizing symptoms K-12 grade repetition $1 $0 $0 $0 $1
Program cost Adjustment for deadweight cost of program $0 $0 $0 ($327) ($327)
Totals $1,181 $1,469 $1,200 ($14) $3,836
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Detailed Annual Cost Estimates Per Participant
Annual cost Year dollars Summary
Program costs $500 2009 Present value of net program costs (in 2022 dollars) ($653)
Comparison costs $0 2009 Cost range (+ or -) 50%
The per-participant cost includes the cost of staff time (including supervision, facilitation, and training), materials, incentives for families, and facility rental, as reported in Suter, C. (2010). Economic Evaluation of a Community-Based, Family-Skills Prevention Program (Master’s Thesis). Washington State University.
The figures shown are estimates of the costs to implement programs in Washington. The comparison group costs reflect either no treatment or treatment as usual, depending on how effect sizes were calculated in the meta-analysis. The cost range reported above reflects potential variation or uncertainty in the cost estimate; more detail can be found in our Technical Documentation.
Benefits Minus Costs
Benefits by Perspective
Taxpayer Benefits by Source of Value
Benefits Minus Costs Over Time (Cumulative Discounted Dollars)
The graph above illustrates the estimated cumulative net benefits per-participant for the first fifty years beyond the initial investment in the program. We present these cash flows in discounted dollars. If the dollars are negative (bars below $0 line), the cumulative benefits do not outweigh the cost of the program up to that point in time. The program breaks even when the dollars reach $0. At this point, the total benefits to participants, taxpayers, and others, are equal to the cost of the program. If the dollars are above $0, the benefits of the program exceed the initial investment.

Citations Used in the Meta-Analysis

Baldus, C., Thomsen, M., Sack, P. M., Bröning, M., Arnaud, N., Daubmann, A., & Thomasius, R. (2016). Evaluation of a German version of the Strengthening Families Programme 10-14: A randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Public Health, 26, 953–959.

Foxcroft, D.R., Callen, H., Davies, E.L., & Okulicz-Kozaryn, K. (2017). Effectiveness of the Strengthening Families Programme 10–14 in Poland: Cluster randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Public Health, 27(3), 494-500.

Riesch, S.K., Brown, R.L., & Anderson, L.S. (2012). Strengthening Families Program (10–14): Effects on the family environment. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 34, 340–376.

Spoth, R., Redmond, C., & Lepper, H. (1999). Alcohol initiation outcomes of universal family-focused preventive interventions: One- and two-year follow-ups of a controlled study. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 13, 103-111.

Spoth, R., Reyes, M.L., Redmond, C., & Shin, C. (1999). Assessing a public health approach to delay onset and progression of adolescent substance use: Latent transition and loglinear analyses of longitudinal family preventive intervention outcomes. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67(5), 619-630.

Spoth, R.L., Redmond, C., & Shin, C. (2000). Reducing adolescents' aggressive and hostile behaviors: Randomized trial effects of a brief family intervention 4 years past baseline. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 154(12), 1248-1258.

Trudeau, L., Spoth, R.L., Randall, G.K., Mason, W.A., & Shin, C. (2012). Internalizing symptoms: Effects of a preventive intervention on developmental pathways from early adolescence to young adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41(6), 788-801.