Examining executive subsystem attendance patterns and treatment outcome with Hispanic families

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Blaine Fowers - Committee Chair


This study examined a key assumption of family therapy, regarding the importance of family member attendance in family therapy sessions. More specifically, the study investigated whether family therapy, in which the identified patient is an adolescent family member, is more effective when the executive subsystem fully attends the initial three sessions of therapy. In order to test this assumption, archival data obtained from the Family Interventions with High Risk Minority Adolescents Study conducted by the Center for Family Studies at the University of Miami, was utilized. The data detailed the therapy sessions of families seeking treatment for an adolescent family member exhibiting behavioral problems. The treatment model used in the study was Brief Structural/Strategic Family Therapy.The present study included 74 Hispanic families, who had participated in the High Risk Minority Adolescents Study, that had attended a minimum of four therapy sessions, were comprised of households with two parental figures, and had pre/post treatment data available. Executive subsystem attendance patterns were determined through a pattern analysis procedure that produced five distinct cluster solutions.The five identified cluster patterns were tested to examine whether differing patterns of attendance were associated with a reduction in behavior problems and/or improvement in family functioning. The dependent variables were family functioning, as measured by the Overall Scale of the Family Assessment Measure, and adolescent behavior problems, as measured by the Conduct Disorder and Socialized Aggression Scale of the Revised Behavior Problem Checklist. The Repeated Measures ANOVA analysis was not statistically significant. The five cluster patterns were collapsed to form two patterns of attendance: "full" and "partial." The Repeated Measures ANOVA analysis was also not statistically significant. The results do not support the assumption that full attendance by the executive subsystem is necessary for effective treatment.


Psychology, General

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