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The Relationship Between Family Education and Support Services and Parent and Child Outcomes Over Time

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Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Published online on


The purpose of the current study is to contribute to the knowledge base on the use of family education and support (FES) services by examining the longitudinal trajectories of FES receipt and multiple domains of child and family functioning. Using an extant data set of more than 9,000 youth and their caregivers, results indicate that families who received FES on entry into services had greater caregiver strain, and their children experienced greater emotional challenges than families who did not receive FES services. Furthermore, for families who received FES, the longitudinal results revealed an immediate effect of seeking additional services, decreasing caregiver strain 6 months after receipt of FES services, and improving child emotional functioning 6 to 18 months after initial receipt of FES services. The complex, lagged effects in the results are discussed in the context of the theorized cyclical course of family stress as exemplified by the Double ABCX model of adjustment and adaptation. Implications for future research of FES services are discussed, especially the need to develop a functional logic model and an operational definition of FES and its components.