Multidimensional Family Therapy – MDFT
Full evaluation
Meets inclusion criteria
Moderate methodology
* *
Description

Multidimensional Family Therapy is an intensive family and system-oriented workshop method created for staff working in child protection and hospital outpatient settings, whose professional activities bring them into contact with young people aged 12–19 with complex broad spectrum behavioural and substance misuse problems.

MDFT works best in challenging or crisis situations, where outpatient interventions have already been attempted and a residential placement is being considered. Instead of focusing on the individual, the process incorporates the young person’s entire family, including parents and other relevant parties and systems, such as school, friends and other authorities involved. Attempts are made to identify risk and protective factors on an individual, family and wider network level, and treatment is tailored to each young person’s individual circumstances.

Please note that this a summary of the full evaluation, which is currently only available in Finnish.  

Context
Target group
Adolescents Families Parents 
Description of the target group
Description of the intervention
Evidence
Strong
Evidence
3 / 3
Effectiveness
Moderate
Effects
2 / 3
Usefulness
Moderate
Usefulness – Total score
8 / 15
Training
3 / 3
Training availability
1 / 3
Cost effectiveness
1 / 3
Suitability
2 / 3
Evaluation/appraisal
1 / 3
References
  • Baldwin, S., Christian, S., Berkeljon, A. & Shadish, W. (2012). The effects of family therapies for adolescent delinquency and substance abuse: a meta-analysis. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 38, 281-304. Link to the reference
  • Brofenbrenner, U. (1979). The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massaschusetts.
  • Ehrling, L. (2014). Multidimensional Family Therapy. Uusi työtapa nuorten monimuotoisiin ongelmiin. Kokemuksia MDFT:n mahdollisuuksista. Loppuraportti. Helsinki: Suomen Mielenterveysseura Link to the reference
  • Filges, T., Andersen, D., Klint Jørgensen, A. (2015). Effects of Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) on nonopioid drug abuse: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Research on Social Work Practice, 1-16. Link to the reference
  • French, M.T., Roebuck, M.C.:, Dennis, M. (2002). The economic cost of outpatient marijuana treatment for adolescents: Findings from a multisite experiment. Addiction, 97, S84-87. Link to the reference
  • Greenbaum, P. E., Wang, W., Henderson, C. E., Kan, L., Hall, K., Dakof, G. A., & Liddle, H. A. (2015). Gender and ethnicity as moderators: Integrative data analysis of Multidimensional Family Therapy randomized clinical trials. Journal of Family Psychology, 29, 919-30. Link to the reference
  • Hendriks, V., van der Schee, E. & Blanken, P. (2011). Treatment of adolescents with a cannabis use disorder: Main findings of a randomized controlled trial comparing multidimensional family therapy and cognitive therapy in The Netherlands. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 119, 64-71. Link to the reference
  • Hendriks,V., van der Schee, E. & Blanken, P. (2012). Matching adolescents with a cannabis use disorder to multidimensional family therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy: treatment effect moderators in a randomized controlled trial. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 125, 119-126. Link to the reference
  • Liddle, H. A. (2010). Treating Adolescent Substance Abuse Using Multidimensional Family Therapy. Teoksessa J. Weisz & A. Kazdin (toim.) Evidence-based psychotherapies for children and adolescents (second edition). N.Y.: Guilford.
  • Liddle, H.A., Rowe, C. L., Dakof, G.A., Ungaro, R.A., Henderson, C.C. (2004). Early intervention for adolescent substance abuse: Pretreatment to posttreatment outcomes of a randomized clinical trial comparing Multidimensional Family Therapy and peer group treatment. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 36, 11, 49-63. Link to the reference
  • Liddle, H., Rowe, C., Dakof, G., Henderson, C. Greenbaum, P. (2009). Multidimensional family therapy for young adolescent substance abuse: twelve-month outcomes of a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77, 12-25. Link to the reference
  • Liddle, H., Dakof, G., Turner, R., Henderson, C., Greebaum, P. (2008). Treating adolescent drug abuse: a randomized trial comparing multidimensional family therapy and cognitive behavior therapy. Addiction, 103, 1660-70. Link to the reference
  • Rigter, H., Henderson, C.E., Peld, I., Tossman, P., Phan, O., Hendriks, V., Schaub, M. & Rowe, C.L. (2012). Multidimensional family therapy lowers the rate of cannabis dependence in adolescents: A randomized controlled trial in Western European outpatient settings. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 130, 85-93. Link to the reference
  • Rowe, C. (2010). Multidimensional Family Therapy: Addressing co-occurring substance abuse and other problems among adolescents with comprehensive family-based treatment. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 19, 563-576. Link to the reference
  • Schaub, M., Henderson, C., Pelc, I., Tossman, P., Phan, O., Hendris, V., Rowe, C. & Rigter, H. (2013). Multidimensional family therapy decreases the rate of externalising behavioural disorder symptoms in cannabis abusing adolescents: outcomes of the INCANT trial. BMC Psychiatry, 14, 26. Link to the reference
  • Stanton MD, & Shadish WR. (1997). Outcome, attrition, and family-couples treatment for drug abuse: a meta-analysis and review of the controlled, comparative studies. Psychol Bulletin, 122, 170-91. Link to the reference
  • Tanner-Smith E., Wilson, S., & Lipsey, M. (2013). The comparative effectiveness of outpatient treatment for adolescent substance abuse: a meta-analysis. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 44, 145-58. Link to the reference
  • Van der Pol, Hoeve, M., Noom., M., Stams, G., Doreleijers, T., Domburgh, L. & Vermeiren, R. (2017). Research Review: The effectiveness of multidimensional family therapy in treating adolescents with multiple behavior problems – a meta-analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Link to the reference