Prevention Science

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 241-246

First online:

Cultural Sensitivity and Adaptation in Family-Based Prevention Interventions

  • Karol L. KumpferAffiliated withDepartment of Health Promotion and Education, University of Utah
  • , Rose AlvaradoAffiliated withDepartment of Health Promotion and Education, University of Utah
  • , Paula SmithAffiliated withDepartment of Health Promotion and Education, University of Utah
  • , Nikki BellamyAffiliated withDivision of Knowledge Development and Evaluation, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention

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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 issues parent training family therapy substance abuse prevention outcome research