Graduation Year


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Faculty Advisor

Regina Kuersten-Hogan


Mental health, Family psychotherapy, Behavior therapy for children, Treatment of behavior disorders in adolescence, McMaster approach


This paper explored the extent to which current treatments for adolescents with anorexia nervosa (AN), conduct disorder (CD), and depression have involved families in therapy. Various past and present therapies for all three adolescent disorders were reviewed and effective treatment components of family therapy were identified and compared across the treatment approaches. A review of the literature indicated that family therapy was more effective and beneficial for the adolescent patient than individual treatments not involving families. While individualized treatments helped to improve adolescent symptomatology, family therapy provided a more comprehensive approach as it focused not only on symptom reduction but also on changing the very family environments and dynamics that oftentimes played a role in the etiology of these disorders. The McMaster Model of Family Functioning was utilized to highlight the different dimensions of family functioning included in current treatments of AN, CD, and depression. Suggestions regarding dimensions of family functioning that should be included in family treatments to provide the most comprehensive approach for adolescents with mental disorders were provided.