Multiple Family Group
Funded by NIMH, this project examines a multiple family group (MFG) service delivery strategy on service use and outcome for urban, low-income children of color. The study will involve a total 372 school-age (7 to 11 years) youth exhibiting serious behavioral difficulties and their families (including adult caregivers and siblings between the age of 6 and 18 years) in a 16-week series of group meetings with 6 to 8 families in each group.
The MFG consist of 16 weekly group meetings that focus on these four conceptual categories in order to increase parents’ understanding about the importance of specific aspects of family life in the remediation of childhood behavioral difficulties. Focusing on these conceptual categories further enhances the relevance of addressing parenting and family processes while simultaneously reducing parental or family blame for youth behavioral difficulties.
Currently, the MFG service delivery model is evaluated rigorously in a large-scale, randomized clinical trial funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Preliminary rates of engagement for the first 190 families randomly assigned to either MFG vs. comparison individualized or family therapy services offered with ten outpatient mental health clinics are summarized in Figure 1.
In addition, there is emerging preliminary evidence that the MFG is associated with significant reductions in youth symptoms related to oppositional behavior and inattention and improvement in social skills relative to those youth enrolled in comparison services (see Table 2).
Mary M. McKay, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry
One Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029