Condition category
Mental and Behavioural Disorders
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Prospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
The social and economic costs of teen violence and aggression are substantial and rising. Despite recent progress, further research is needed to develop interventions for pre-teens and adolescents, particularly those at the highest level of risk. Few programs have addressed the relevance of gender differences, and important questions remain regarding the need for 'gender sensitive', 'gender tailored' or 'gender specific' programming. Programs that promote and strengthen relationships between youth and their parents may enhance healthy development and reduce violence, aggression and related mental health and social problems. We have developed an intervention to strengthen parent-teen relationships. The aim of this study is to evaluate the short- and long-term effectiveness of this program for girls and boys at high risk for aggression, violence and poor social and mental health.

What does the study involve?
Youth (aged 13 -16 years of age) with serious conduct problems and their caregivers (biological, adoptive and stable surrogate parents)

What does the study involve?
Parent and youth pairs are randomly allocated to receive either treatment as usual or a 10-week parent-teen attachment intervention. The effectiveness of the intervention, compared with treatment as usual, is assessed at 6-month intervals over a one-year period.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Caregivers or youth may sometimes feel a little upset when talking about problems, but other than this there are no other risks we can foresee.

Where does the study take place?
Simon Fraser University (Canada)

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
September 2011 to June 2014

Who is funding the project?
Canadian Institutes for Health Research (Canada)

Who is the main contact?
Dr Marlene Moretti

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Marlene Moretti


Contact details

8888 University Drive

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Strengthening parent-teen relationships to reduce risk and enhance healthy development: a sex and gender framework in translating research into practice


Study hypothesis

1. Evaluate the effectiveness of a parent-teen attachment based intervention for girls and boys compared to ‘treatment usual’ using a randomized control design, with a one year follow-up period
2. Examine the role of sex and gender in relation to factors that mediate therapeutic gains(attachment security) and moderate treatment outcome (genetic markers)
3. Investigate sex and gender in relation to mechanisms that underlie treatment change: shifts in parenting representations and adolescent stress reactivity

Ethics approval

Simon Fraser Research Ethics Board, submitted June 2011

Study design

Single-centre randomized controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet


High risk for aggression, violence and poor social and mental health


1. A 10-week attachment-focused intervention program for parents or parental surrogates of teens who engage in aggressive, violent, and antisocial behaviour
2. During the enrolment period, all parents seeking clinical services at designated mental health facilities will be provided with information about the trial and invited to participate
3. Following completion of informed consent by parents and assent by youth, parents will complete screening to determine eligibility
4. Eligible parent-youth dyads will be randomly assigned to either the intervention, a 10 week manualized parent-teen attachment intervention - Connect, or “treatment as usual” (TAU)
5. Parents and youth will complete measures prior to and following treatment, and twice afterwards at six-month intervals post-treatment
6. Caregivers allocated to the intervention arm will attend a 10-week, manualized, attachment-focused parent group
7. Each 1 hour session will Address an attachment principle that captures key aspects of the parent-teen relationship and common parenting challenges
8. The objective of the intervention is to enhance skills related to:
8.1. Secure attachment
8.2. Parental sensitivity
8.3. Partnership and mutuality
8.4. Dyadic affect regulation
9. Treatment as Usual (TAU) Characteristics: Clinics included in the trial also offer an array of services for families, parents and teens
10. TAU is available at each participating mental health centre and will include other forms of parenting groups, family therapy, parent or youth cognitive therapy or supportive counselling
11. Treatment duration is typically short (3-4 months)
12. We will code treatment dose in both treatment conditions in terms of total number of sessions attended, total weeks of treatment, average length of sessions, and total hours in treatment

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measure

1. Parent report: Brief Child and Family Phone Interview (BCFPI)
2. Three measures of parenting: The Parenting Sense of Competence Scale (PSOC)
3. The Children’s Report of Parenting Behaviors Inventory (CRPBI)
4. The Caregiver Strain Questionnaire (CGSQ) which measures: the Comprehensive Adolescent-Parent Attachment Inventory – Parent Version (CAPAI-P)
5. You report: BCFPI
6. The Self Report of Offending-Revised (SRO-R)
7. The Conflict Tactics Scale – Perpetrator subscale (CTS)
8. The Affect Regulation Checklist (ARC): The Comprehensive Adolescent-Parent Inventory – Youth Version (CAPAI-Y)

Secondary outcome measures

1. Parent report: The Parenting Representations Interview – Adolescence version
2. Youth biological stress reactivity (salivary cortisol)
3. Genotype moderation (DRD4)
4. Official arrest data
5. Grade point average and absenteeism
6. Other services received

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. English-speaking
2. Parent-youth dyads of youth diagnosed with conduct disorder (t-score of ≥ 65, BCFPI)
3. Available (i.e. no anticipated extended absences)

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

1. Cases that are positive for acute psychosis
2. Imminent risk of suicide will be ineligible and will be referred for immediate alternative services

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

Simon Fraser University

Sponsor information


Simon Fraser University (Canada)

Sponsor details

8888 University Drive

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Alternative name(s)

Instituts de Recherche en Santé du Canada, CIHR, IRSC

Funding Body Type

government organisation

Funding Body Subtype

National government



Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2015 results in:

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

20/09/2018: Publication reference added. 29/07/2016: Plain English summary added.