Functional Family Therapy (FFT) in an Irish Context 

Study number (SN): 0062-00




Archways; Alan Carr; Daniel Hartnett; Thomas Sexton; Clare Graham, (2018). Functional Family Therapy in an Irish Context 2010 - 2014. [dataset]. Version 1. Dublin: Irish Social Science Data Archive [distributor]. SN: 0062-00.



FFT is an evidence-based treatment for adolescent behvioural problems, conduct behaviour, substance misuse and delinquency. Therapists meet regularly, usually on a weekly basis for about 3 or 4 months, with adolescents and their families in conjoint sessions. During these sessions they develop a therapeutic alliance with family memebers, help families develop better parenting practices, communication and problem-solving skills, and use these skills independently to generalize progress made within therapy to home and community contexts.

Between 2010 and 2014, a research programme to evaluate the effectiveness and implementation of FFT at Archways Family First was conducted by Professor Alan Carr, Dan Hartnett and Clare Graham from the School of Psychology at University College Dublin, in collaboration with Professor Tom Sexton at Indiana University and the team of FFT therapists at Archways Family First. This FFT research programme involved a retrospective survey covering the period 2007-2011, followed by a prosepctive randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of FFT at Archways Families First during a later stage of service development covering the period 2012-2014. The RCT provided a valid test of the impact of FFT on adolescent behavioural problems and family adjustment with an Irish context. 



  • Adolescence
  • Youth
  • Family environment
  • Health
  • Physiological development
  • Emotional development
  • Evaluation
  • Parenting
  • Parental well-being/mental health  




Archways' Families First programme works with young people aged 11-18 and their families who are struggling with family conflict, youth-stress, behavioural, emotional and relationship difficulties at home. The RCT data contains data from both the young person and from one of their parents.  

Observation units

  • Individuals
  • Families/Hoseholds

Temporal coverage

From 01/2012 to 01/2014

Geographical coverage

Country: Ireland, Region: Leinster, County: Dublin 

Methods of data collection

  • PAPI (Pencil and Paper Interview, Self-completion) 

Sampling procedures

RCT study was conducted with FFT intervention group and waiting-list control group. Cases in the waiting-list control arm of the trial continued to receive treatment-as-usual from the referring service. Participants referred to the trial were screened for suitability with the SDQ during home visits or at the Archways Families First centre. Those scoring at or above the clincial cut-off of 17 on the total difficulties scale of the parent-completed version of the SDQ were randomized to FFT or control groups. Minimization procedures were used to reduce differences between treatment and control group cases on age, gender, family composition (one- or two- parent family) and SDQ profile.


Response rate

The archived dataset contains a total sample of 97 families (194 adolescent and parent respondents). The FFT intervention group contains 42 families (84 adolescent and parent respondents). The control group contains 55 families (110 adolescent and parent respondents). The table below shows the sample size at Time 1, 2 and 3. Only data from the intervention group was collected at Time 3. A detailed description of the flow of cases through the trail is available in Carr, 2014 (pg. 17-18)

Number of respondents

  FFT intervention group  Control group  Total 
Time 1 assessment completed  84 110 194

Time 2 assessment completed

(after 20 weeks)

78 88 166

Time 3 assessment completed 

(after 3 months)

48 not applicable 48




Data (available through ISSDA application process)

File name

File format/s

Contents of file

0062-00_fft_t1-t2_treatmentandcontrolonly_v2_2019 .sav (SPSS) 

Data file for the treatment and the control groups from this evaluation at two data collection time points 

0062-00_fft_t1-t2-t3_treatmentonly_v2_2019 .sav(SPSS)

Data file for the treatment group only from this evaluation at three data collection time points. 


Documentation (available for download)


File name


File format/s

Contents of file



 Codebook describing the contents of the above data file



 Codebook describing the contents of the above data file 


PDF   A copy of the survey intrument with copyright material removed


PDF  The user guide created for using the archived dataset by Geraghty (2018)


PDF  A copy of the published report from this study by Carr et al., (2014)





Accessing the data

To access the data, please complete a ISSDA Data Request Form for Research Purposes, sign it, and send it to ISSDA by email.

For teaching purposes, please complete the ISSDA Data Request Form for Teaching Purposes, and follow the procedures, as above. Teaching requests are approved on a once-off module/workshop basis. Subsequent occurrences of the module/workshop require a new teaching request form.

Data will be disseminated on receipt of a fully completed, signed form. Incomplete or unsigned forms will be returned to the data requester for completion.





This study was funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Any work based in whole or part on resources provided by ISSDA, should  acknowledge: "Functional Family Therapy in an Irish Context, 2012-2014" and also ISSDA, in the following way: “Accessed via the Irish Social Science Data Archive -”.

Citation requirement

The data and its creators shall be cited in all publications and presentations for which the data have been used. The bibliographic citation may be in the form suggested by the archive or in the form required by the publication.

Bibliographical citation

 (2018). Archways Functional family therapy in an Irish context [dataset]. Version 1. Irish Social Science Data Archive. SN: 0062-00. URL


The user shall notify the Irish Social Science Data Archive of all publications where she or he has used the data.