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Rosecrance partners on study with Brown, Northwestern researchers

The partnership began with a pilot study several years ago at the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus.

Rosecrance is partnering with Brown University to explore a promising way to support parents whose children are in residential behavioral health treatment. The study, launched at Rosecrance in February 2021 and continued at Rosecrance Jackson Centers, is a long-term look at an app that provides supportive resources.

“Parents play a significant role in the success of an adolescent’s recovery journey, especially during the first few months after residential treatment,” said Sara Becker, Ph.D., principal investigator for the study. “However, there are many barriers that can prevent parents from receiving the skills and support they need to help their child navigate this vulnerable time. This study examines whether technology can help us overcome a lack of access to resources.”

Researchers from Brown’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine are analyzing the effectiveness of Parent SMART (Substance Misuse in Adolescents in Residential Treatment), a technology-assisted intervention that offers resources beyond clinicians’ visits with families during treatment and the first few months following residential care. The Parent SMART intervention includes telehealth coaching sessions, parenting skills videos, daily supportive text messages, and a smartphone app with two networking forums.

The partnership began with a pilot study several years ago at the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus. That phase found that parents of youth who received ParentSMART had stronger communication and monitoring skills. Now, a larger study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is being conducted at Rosecrance’s residential treatment campus in Iowa, Rosecrance Jackson Centers, with plans to expand to the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus. This is expected to enroll 220 families over the next four years.

“This research will make a meaningful contribution to the knowledge base about adolescent treatment, and it will help us offer the best outcomes-informed care,” said Rosecrance Chief Medical Officer Tom Wright, Ph.D. “We’re grateful that we can assist the important work our colleagues at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies are doing.”

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