Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA)

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Scientific Rating:
Supported by Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) has been rated by the CEBC in the area of: Substance Abuse Treatment (Adolescent).

Target Population: Adolescents aged 12 to 22 with substance abuse issues

For children/adolescents ages: 12 – 22

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 12 – 22

Brief Description

A-CRA is a behavioral intervention that seeks to increase the family, social, and educational/vocational reinforcers of an adolescent to support recovery from substance abuse and dependence. The manual outlines an outpatient program that targets youth 12-22 years old with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) cannabis, alcohol, and/or other substance use disorders. A-CRA also has been implemented in intensive outpatient and residential treatment settings and the adult model, Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA), has been found effective with adults. A-CRA includes guidelines for three types of sessions: adolescents alone, caregivers alone, and adolescents and caregivers together. According to the adolescent's needs and self-assessment of happiness in multiple areas of functioning, therapists choose from among 17 A-CRA procedures that address, for example, problem-solving skills to cope with stressors, communication skills, and participation in positive social and recreational activities with the goal of improving life satisfaction and eliminating substance use problems.

Program Goals:

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

Contact Information

Name: Mark D. Godley, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: Chestnut Health Systems
Phone: (309) 451-7800
Fax: (309) 451-7761

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: August 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2010