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Family process and youth internalizing problems: A triadic model of etiology and intervention

  • Jessica L. Schleider (a1) and John R. Weisz (a1)


Despite major advances in the development of interventions for youth anxiety and depression, approximately 30% of youths with anxiety do not respond to cognitive behavioral treatment, and youth depression treatments yield modest symptom decreases overall. Identifying networks of modifiable risk and maintenance factors that contribute to both youth anxiety and depression (i.e., internalizing problems) may enhance and broaden treatment benefits by informing the development of mechanism-targeted interventions. A particularly powerful network is the rich array of family processes linked to internalizing problems (e.g., parenting styles, parental mental health problems, and sibling relationships). Here, we propose a new theoretical model, the triadic model of family process, to organize theory and evidence around modifiable, transdiagnostic family factors that may contribute to youth internalizing problems. We describe the model's implications for intervention, and we propose strategies for testing the model in future research. The model provides a framework for studying associations among family processes, their relation to youth internalizing problems, and family-based strategies for strengthening prevention and treatment.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jessica L. Schleider, Psychology Department, Harvard University, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138; E-mail:


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