Foundational Research

Families OverComing Under Stress™ (FOCUS)  is grounded in three well-established interventions, each of which has demonstrated a positive impact on psychological adjustment and functioning in families and children facing challenging circumstances, including parental depression, parental medical illness and loss, and war time exposure.

  • The first is a family-centered preventative intervention designed to strengthen children and families in which a parent is depressed (Beardslee et al., 2003). Developed to enhance resiliency and reduce risk by increasing positive interactions between parents and children, as well as increasing understanding of depression for family members, this intervention has shown positive effects in a large scale efficacy trial and has been adapted for multiple public health settings (Beardslee & Wheelock, 1994; Beardslee et al., 2003).
  • The second is a family-centered intervention for medically ill parents and their children which has demonstrated improvements in psychological adjustment for both parents and their children receiving the intervention over long-term follow-up in a large scale randomized trial, and has been adapted for multiple communities (Rotheram-Borus et al., 2004; Lester et al, 2008).
  • The third is a trauma-focused intervention for children and parents exposed to trauma and loss. This successful evidence-based program was implemented and evaluated across post-war Bosnia Herzegovina (Layne, et al., 2001), and has been adapted for wide-scale use throughout New York City following the attack on the World Trade Center.