SHIFT + Parent Training - An Intervention for Mothers and Fathers Using Illicit Drugs'

Thursday, 24 November, 2022 - 13:20 to 14:50


Background: The research on adverse effects of parental substance use on their children is fairly large. The original SHIFT parent training is a group intervention for mothers and fathers using methamphetamine with children up to 8 years of age. This evidence-based programme focusses on strengthening parenting skills and family resilience, and stabilizing abstinence. SHIFT + is an adaption and extension of the programme and addresses parents using other illicit substances, such as opiates, cannabis, stimulants, or polydrug use. Moreover, it contains two add-on family modules, integrating family members such as partners or children.

Methods: SHIFT + was evaluated in a multicenter quasi-experimental trial with pre-, post- and follow-up-measurements. Participants (n = 87) were acquired through German substance abuse treatment facilities and child welfare institutions. Of these participants, n=46 (53%) were assigned to the intervention group and n=41 (47%) to a waitlist control group.

Results: Immediately after participation in the SHIFT+ parent training, mothers and fathers in the intervention group reported significantly lower depression rates and significantly more skills and knowledge concerning substance use and family. Long-term effects showed that both groups exhibited significantly less psychological distress, less substance use problems and an increase in their perceived parenting skills three months post-intervention. The intervention was highly by both professionals and participants.

Conclusion: Even though the COVID-19 pandemic compromised data collection from all participants through all measurements, existing findings indicate that SHIFT + is an intervention that is able to address the specific challenges drug-involved families may experience and to improve their family situation.


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