Family intervention for adolescents with suicidal behavior: A randomized controlled trial and mediation analysis

Jane Pineda, Mark R. Dadds*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Family processes are a risk factor for suicide but few studies target this domain. We evaluated the effectiveness of a family intervention, the Resourceful Adolescent Parent Program (RAP-P) in reducing adolescent suicidal behavior and associated psychiatric symptoms. Method A preliminary randomized controlled trial compared RAP-P plus Routine Care (RC) to RC only, in an outpatient psychiatric clinic for N = 48 suicidal adolescents and their parents. Key outcome measures of adolescent suicidality, psychiatric disability, and family functioning were completed at pre-treatment, 3-month, and 6-month follow-up. Results RAP-P was associated with high recruitment and retention, greater improvement in family functioning, and greater reductions in adolescents' suicidal behavior and psychiatric disability, compared to RC alone. Benefits were maintained at follow-up with a strong overall effect size. Changes in adolescent's suicidality were largely mediated by changes in family functioning. Conclusion The study provides preliminary evidence for the use of family-focused treatments for adolescent suicidal behavior in outpatient settings. Clinical trial registration information-Family intervention for adolescents with suicidal behaviour: A randomized controlled trial and mediation analysis;; ACTRN12613000668707.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-862
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • family therapy randomized controlled trial suicidal behavior


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