Last reviewed: 2023
Intended Outcomes:The goals of the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) are:
- Promote abstinence from alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs
- Promote positive social activity
- Promote positive peer relationships and improved relationships with family
- Motivate caregiver participation in the A-CRA treatment process
- Promote the caregiver's support of the adolescent's abstinence from alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs
- Provide information to the caregiver about effective parenting practices
- Help the adolescent and caregiver(s) create a home and community environment conducive to recovery
- Teach the adolescent problem-solving, communication, and other important skills through the use of role-playing
Continuum of Care:
Behavioral Health/Mental Health, Disruptive Behaviors, Substance Use
Teen/Adolescent (13-18), Young Adult (19-24)
Community-Based, Congregate Care Facility, School-Based
A balanced amount of the research involved diverse populations
This program is intended for youth and young adults ages 12 to 24 years old with substance use disorders.
In general, clinicians should have at least a Bachelor's degree in a clinical field, but those with Master's degrees and more clinical experience, especially in cognitive behavioral approaches, may have better preparation to learn the model. The quality of a clinician's general counseling skills (e.g., empathy, genuineness, etc.) and their willingness to learn a manualized approach, record their sessions, and receive and respond to feedback on their performance are critical to achieving model certification. Those pursuing certification as clinical supervisors in the model should have a Master's degree.
Is Training Required?
Yes, see developer info
Who can provide the required training?
Training is provided for both clinicians and supervisors via in-person and online formats. Please see program website for more information.
Program Costs (materials, training, etc.):
Yes, refer to program website
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research:
Godley, S. H., Hedges, K., & Hunter, B. (2011). Gender and racial differences in treatment process and outcome among participants in the adolescent community reinforcement approach. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 25(1), 143.
Campos-Melady, M., Smith, J. E., Meyers, R. J., Godley, S. H., & Godley, M. D. (2017). The effect of therapists’ adherence and competence in delivering the adolescent community reinforcement approach on client outcomes. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31(1), 117.
Hunter, B. D., Godley, S. H., Hesson-McInnis, M. S., & Roozen, H. G. (2014). Longitudinal change mechanisms for substance use and illegal activity for adolescents in treatment. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28(2), 507.
Davis, J. P., Prindle, J. J., Eddie, D., Pedersen, E. R., Dumas, T. M., & Christie, N. C. (2019). Addressing the opioid epidemic with behavioral interventions for adolescents and young adults: A quasi-experimental design. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 87(10), 941.
Slesnick, N., Erdem, G., Bartle-Haring, S., & Brigham, G. S. (2013). Intervention with substance-abusing runaway adolescents and their families: results of a randomized clinical trial. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 81(4), 600.
»WV Ratings Info
Rationale for Rating:
The research is promising; however, the outcome success seems to be short-lived and contingent upon clinician's skillset. More favorable outcomes were shown with males vs. females. More favorable outcomes were significant when caretakers were also included in the treatment. It was difficult to ascertain whether the intervention had a significant impact when the adolescent was involved with the legal system or if other factors such as legal supervision impacted success. Short-term success was significant; however, long-term success has not been promising.
Contraindications or Concerns:
The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare:
Promising Research Evidence
Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development:
Not On Registry
Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness:
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide:
Promising - More than one study
Washington State Institute for Public Policy:
Found on the registry. See link for more information.
Washington State Institute for Public Policy Registry Link: