Prevention Science

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 241–246

Cultural Sensitivity and Adaptation in Family-Based Prevention Interventions


  • Karol L. Kumpfer
    • Department of Health Promotion and EducationUniversity of Utah
  • Rose Alvarado
    • Department of Health Promotion and EducationUniversity of Utah
  • Paula Smith
    • Department of Health Promotion and EducationUniversity of Utah
  • Nikki Bellamy
    • Division of Knowledge Development and EvaluationCenter for Substance Abuse Prevention

DOI: 10.1023/A:1019902902119

Cite this article as:
Kumpfer, K.L., Alvarado, R., Smith, P. et al. Prev Sci (2002) 3: 241. doi:10.1023/A:1019902902119


Because of the substantial impact of families on the developmental trajectories of children, family interventions should be a critical ingredient in comprehensive prevention programs. Very few family interventions have been adapted to be culturally sensitive for different ethnic groups. This paper examines the research literature on whether culturally adapting family interventions improves retention and outcome effectiveness. Because of limited research on the topic, the prevention research field is divided on the issue. Factors to consider for cultural adaptations of family-focused prevention are presented. Five research studies testing the effectiveness of the generic version of the Strengthening Families Program (SFP) compared to culturally-adapted versions for African Americans, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian families suggest that cultural adaptations made by practitioners that reduce dosage or eliminate critical core content can increase retention by up to 40%, but reduce positive outcomes. Recommendations include the need for additional research on culturally-sensitive family interventions.

cultural issuesparent trainingfamily therapysubstance abuse preventionoutcome research
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© Society for Prevention Research 2002