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Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)

About This Resource

Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) is an integrative, family-based, multiple systems treatment for youth with drug abuse and related behavior problems. The therapy consists of four domains: (1) engage adolescent in treatment, (2) increase parental involvement with youth and improve limit-setting, (3) decrease family-interaction conflict, and (4) collaborate with extra-familial social systems. Youth are generally aged 11 to 16 and have been clinically referred to outpatient treatment. For this meta-analysis, two studies measured the effects of MDFT on delinquency and ten measured the effects on subsequent substance use. All 12 studies included youth who were referred from the juvenile justice system as well as schools, child welfare agencies, health and mental health agencies, and parents. (Source)

Washingnton State Institute of Promising Practices benefit-cost report (rated: Research-Based)

Learn More:

National Dropout Prevention Center Registry

Rating: Moderate Evidence


Washington State Institute for Public Policy Registry

Rating: Research-based


Cost Information


Who This Resource Is For


  • Family-Focused Program
  • Marijuana Use Prevention
  • Mental Health
  • Substance Use Prevention
  • Support Tier: 

  • Tier 3
  • Age Range: 

  • Middle
  • High
  • Language: 

  • English
  • Ethnicity: 

  • Not Specified / Any
  • Community Type: 

  • Suburban
  • Urban