Family Check-Up Impact

More than 20 years of research shows that the Family Check-Up leads to positive child outcomes in early childhood and adolescence. The Family Check-Up works by helping parents improve their parenting practices – such as positive behavior support, monitoring, and setting limits – and by enhancing the quality of all their family relationships. Research also shows that the Family Check-Up leads to reductions in depression among parents, and these reductions are associated with improved child wellbeing.

Impact in Childhood

Compared with the children of families who never participated in a Family Check-Up, children of those families that did participate have:

  • Fewer behavior and emotional problems
  • Better emotion regulation
  • Increased school readiness
  • Decreased risk for obesity

Impact in Adolescence

Compared to the adolescents of families who never participated in a Family-Check-Up, adolescents of those families that did participate have:

  • Less drug use
  • Less antisocial behavior
  • Less bullying in school
  • Less depression

Adolescents who participated in the Family Check-Up also had 77% fewer school absences and were 66% less likely to have failing grades.

Long-Term Impact to Early Adulthood

Adolescents of families that participated in the Family Check-Up were followed into early adulthood. The Family Check-Up has long-lasting effects that include reductions in problem behavior and substance use and dependence.  In early adulthood, compared to the adolescents of families who never participated in a Family-Check-Up, adolescents of those families that did participate used:

  • 30% less marijuana
  • 54% less tobacco
  • 26% less alcohol
  • 38% less likely to be arrested in early adulthood

Published Research

The following papers describe in greater detail the findings presented above.

Intervention Effects in Early Childhood

  • Brennan, L. M., Shelleby, E. C., Shaw, D. S., Gardner, F., Dishion, T. J., & Wilson, M.N. (2013). Indirect effects of the Family Check-Up on school-age academic achievement through improvements in parenting in early childhood. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(3), 762.
  • Dishion, T. J., Shaw, D., Connell, A., Gardner, F., Weaver, C., & Wilson, M. (2008). The Family Check‐Up With High‐Risk Indigent Families: Preventing Problem Behavior by Increasing Parents’ Positive Behavior Support in Early Childhood. Child development, 79(5), 1395-1414.
  • Dishion, T. J., Brennan, L. M., Shaw, D. S., McEachern, A. D., Wilson, M. N., & Jo, B. (2014). Prevention of problem behavior through annual family check-ups in early childhood: intervention effects from home to early elementary school. Journal of abnormal child psychology, 42(3), 343-354.
  • Lunkenheimer, E. S., Dishion, T. J., Shaw, D. S., Connell, A. M., Gardner, F., Wilson, M. N., & Skuban, E. M. (2008). Collateral benefits of the Family Check-Up on early childhood school readiness: Indirect effects of parents' positive behavior support. Developmental Psychology, 44(6), 1737.
  • McEachern, A. D., Fosco, G. M., Dishion, T. J., Shaw, D. S., Wilson, M. N., & Gardner, F. (2013). Collateral benefits of the Family Check-Up in early childhood on caregiver’s social support and relationship satisfaction. Journal of Family Psychology.
  • Shaw, D. S., Connell, A., Dishion, T. J., Wilson, M. N., & Gardner, F. (2009). Improvements in maternal depression as a mediator of intervention effects on early childhood problem behavior. Development and psychopathology, 21(02), 417-439.
  • Shaw, D. S., Dishion, T. J., Supplee, L., Gardner, F., & Arnds, K. (2006). Randomized trial of a family-centered approach to prevention of early conduct problems: 2-year effects of the Family Check-Up in early childhood. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 74(1), 1-9.

Intervention Effects in Adolescence

  • Dishion, T., Granic, I. and Bullock, B. (2002). Pragmatism in modeling peer influence: Dynamics, outcomes and change processes. Development and Psychopathology, 14(4), 969-981
  • Dishion,T.J.;  Nelson, N.E.;  Kavanagh, K. (2003). The Family Check-Up with high-risk young adolescents: Preventing early-onset substance use by parent monitoring. Behavior Therapy 34: 553-571.
  • Connell, A. M., & Dishion, T. J. (2008). Reducing depression among at-risk early adolescents: Three-year effects of a family-centered intervention embedded within schools. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 574-585.
  • Connell, A., M., Dishion, T. J., & Klostermann, S. (2011). Family Check-Up effects on adolescent arrest trajectories: Variation by developmental subtype. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 22(2), 367-380.
  • Stormshak, E. A., Connell, A. M., Véronneau, M. H., Myers, M. W., Dishion, T. J., Kavanagh, K., & Caruthers, A. S. (2011). An ecological approach to interventions with high-risk students in schools: Using the Family Check-Up to motivate parents' positive behavior support. Child Development, 82, 209-255.
  • Stormshak, E. A., Fosco, G. M., & Dishion, T. J. (2010). Implementing interventions with families in schools to increase youth school engagement: The Family Check-Up model. School Mental Health, 2(2), 82-92.
  • Van Ryzin, M. J., Stormshak, E. A., & Dishion, T. J. (2012). Engaging parents in the Family Check-Up in middle school: Longitudinal effects on family conflict and problem behavior through the transition to high school. Journal of Adolescent Health, 50(6), 627-633.
  • Veronneau, Dishion, & Connell (in press). Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.  10 year ITT effects on marijuana use.