Development and feasibility of a family-focused intervention for the prevention of problem behaviour in early adolescents

Tim Engels

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis


My doctoral dissertation discusses the development and feasibility of a family-focused intervention, the Families in Transition (FIT) programme, for the prevention of problem behaviour in early adolescents. The first chapter provides the reader with an overview of the family risk and protective factors involved in the onset and development of problem behaviour in early adolescents. The chapter begins with an introduction to the study of risk and protective factors. I then discuss the risk and protective factors in day-to-day parent-adolescent interactions, in the parent-adolescent relationship and in family communication. I conclude by highlighting some implications of our review for the focus of preventive interventions. The second chapter discusses the Delphi study that I conducted to develop a framework for the design and implementation of the FIT programme. I provide a rationale for the use of the Delphi method and discuss the research process and findings. The third chapter begins with a presentation of the FIT programme. The feasibility of the programme is then tested through an investigation of the participants profile and the implementation of the programme parameters and techniques. This investigation is continued in the fourth chapter that presents the logical programme model and provides an overview of the psychosocial outcomes of the intervention. Both the third and the fourth chapter conclude with a discussion of potential improvements to the programme. The fifth chapter introduces the reader to the qualitative findings that emerged from the interviews with parents and adolescents after they had participated in our programme. In the sixth chapter, I compare these findings, as well as the findings of the post-implementation interviews with the practitioner networks, to the FIT framework that was developed through the Delphi study. The chapter illustrates that it is both theoretically and practically meaningful to enhance Delphi findings through a follow-up inquiry. In particular, I discuss evaluation findings that support or refine the FIT framework. I end the dissertation with conclusions regarding the design, implementation and evaluation of the FIT programme. Furthermore, I discuss the limitations and implications of the study as well as suggestions for future research. A paper or pdf copy of my thesis can be obtained by sending an email to me.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Andries, Caroline, Supervisor
Place of PublicationBrussels
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • adolescents


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