The acceptability and effectiveness of an online intervention for youth with parents with a mental illness and/or substance use issue

Andrea Reupert, Darryl Maybery, Catherine Bartholomew, Rose Cuff, Kim Foster, Jodie Matar, Laura Pettenuzzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: There is a paucity of interventions for young adults who have parents with a mental health or substance use issue. The 6-week (supportive, preventive, online, and targeted) professionally moderated, online intervention fills this gap. The purpose of this study was to present evidence of the acceptability, safety, and preliminary effectiveness of this intervention. Methods: In response to social media advertising, 31 young people aged 18–25 years participated in Intervention effectiveness was examined via a single-group pre, post, and 6-week follow-up study design, measuring primary changes in depression, anxiety, stress, and psychological well-being and secondary changes in coping, self-efficacy, social connectedness, attribution of responsibility, help-seeking, and mental health literacy. Acceptability and safety were determined by system use and participants' self-reports. Results: Over the 6 weeks of the intervention, 28 (90.3%) of 31 participants used one or more components of the intervention. Significant improvements were reported in depression and stress from preintervention to 6-week postintervention. Trend improvements were evident in well-being, social connection, and coping. No change was reported in general help-seeking, social connectedness, mental health literacy, self-efficacy, or attribution. No safety violations were reported. Participants reported to be safe and acceptable. Conclusions: appears to be safe and acceptable and shows promise as an effective online intervention to improve the mental health and well-being of young adults with parents with mental health and/or substance use issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-558
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Emerging adults
  • Evaluation
  • Online
  • Parental mental illness
  • Parental substance use
  • Youth

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