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Putting theory to the test: Examining family context, caregiver motivation, and conflict in the Family Check-Up model

  • Gregory M. Fosco (a1), Mark Van Ryzin (a2), Elizabeth A. Stormshak (a2) and Thomas J. Dishion (a2) (a3)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.


This study examined contextual factors (caregiver depression, family resources, ethnicity, and initial levels of youth problem behavior) related to the effectiveness of the Family Check-Up (FCU) and evaluated family processes as a mediator of FCU intervention response and adolescent antisocial behavior. We followed a sample of 180 ethnically diverse youths of families who engaged in the FCU intervention. Family data were collected as part of the FCU assessment, and youth data were collected over 4 years, from sixth through ninth grade. Findings indicated that caregiver depression and minority status predicted greater caregiver motivation to change. In turn, caregiver motivation was the only direct predictor of FCU intervention response during a 1-year period. Growth in family conflict from sixth through eighth grade mediated the link between FCU response and ninth-grade antisocial behavior. This study explicitly tested core aspects of the FCU intervention model and demonstrated that caregiver motivation is a central factor that underlies family response to the FCU. The study also provided support for continued examination of family process mechanisms that account for enduring effects of the FCU and other family-centered interventions.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Gregory M. Fosco, Pennsylvania State University, 315 Health and Human Development Building, University Park, PA, 16802; E-mail:


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Putting theory to the test: Examining family context, caregiver motivation, and conflict in the Family Check-Up model

  • Gregory M. Fosco (a1), Mark Van Ryzin (a2), Elizabeth A. Stormshak (a2) and Thomas J. Dishion (a2) (a3)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.


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