American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 48, Issue 1–2, pp 65–76 | Cite as

Preventing Children’s Aggression in Immigrant Latino Families: A Mixed Methods Evaluation of the Families and Schools Together Program

  • Lyndee KnoxEmail author
  • Nancy G. Guerra
  • Kirk R. Williams
  • Rosa Toro
Original Paper


The effectiveness of the evidence based program, Families and Schools Together (FAST), was examined in two inter-related studies with immigrant Latino (Mexican) families in the U.S. In Study 1, we reported findings from pre-test, 3-month post-test, and 12-month follow-up surveys of parents and children participating in the FAST program. Families were selected from communities that were randomly assigned to either intervention or control groups. A total of 282 parents (263 mothers and 19 fathers) participated in either the intervention (140 parents) or control (142 parents) condition over the course of 3 years. Each of the parents had a participating focal child; thus, 282 children (144 females and 138 males; average age = 9.5 years) participated in the study. A primary focus of the research was to determine whether participation in FAST led to reductions in children’s aggression. Using linear growth models, no differences were noted on aggression between intervention and control groups, although intervention children did show significant improvements in social problem-solving skills and perceptions of collective efficacy. In Study 2, we conducted two focus groups with ten FAST participants to explore whether other unmeasured outcomes were noted and to understand better the mechanisms and impact of FAST. All of the parents in the focus groups reported that FAST had helped them better relate to and communicate with their children, and that the greatest effect was on the behavior of their older children. Results are discussed in terms of cultural fit of the FAST program for immigrant Latino families and future directions.


Childhood aggression Prevention Families Immigrant Latino 



This research was supported by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Grant #5U49CE000734). We would like to thank Melinda Leidy and Pam Diamond for their assistance with data entry and data analyses. All authors agree that this manuscript has not been published previously and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. This manuscript has been seen and reviewed by all authors and all authors have contributed to this manuscript in a meaningful way.


  1. Carlin, J. B., Galati, J. C., & Royston, P. (2008). A new framework for managing and analyzing multiply imputed data with Stata. The Stata Journal, 8, 49–67.Google Scholar
  2. Causey, D. L., & Dubow, E. F. (1992). Development of a self-report coping measure for elementary school children. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 21, 47–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Connell, A., Dishion, T., Yasui, M., & Kavanagh, K. (2007). An adaptive approach to family intervention: Linking engagement in family-centered intervention to reductions in adolescent problem behavior. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 568–579.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Elliott, D. S., & Mihalic, S. (2004). Issues in disseminating and replicating effective prevention program. Prevention Science, 5, 47–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Guerra, N. G., & Leidy, M. (2008). Lessons learned: Recent advances in the prevention and treatment of childhood aggression. In R. Kail (Ed.), Advances in child development and behavior, Vol. 36 (pp. 287–330). Boston, MA: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Guerra, N. G., & Smith, E. P. (Eds.). (2005). Preventing youth violence in a multicultural society. USA: American Psychological Association Press.Google Scholar
  7. Hernandez, D. J. (2004). Demographic change and the life circumstances of immigrant families. The Future of Children, 14, 17–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hinshaw, S. P. (2002). Intervention research, theoretical mechanisms, and causal processes related to externalizing behavior problems. Development and Psychopathology, 14, 789–818.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kratochwill, T. R., McDonald, L., Levin, J. R., Young Bear-Tibbetts, H., & Demaray, M. K. (2004). Families and schools together: An experimental analysis of a parent-mediated multi-family group program for American Indian children. Journal of School Psychology, 42, 359–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. LaFreniere, P. J., & Dumas, J. E. (1996). Social competence and behavior evaluation children ages 3 to 6 years: The short form (SCBE-30). Psychological Assessment, 8(4), 369–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Layzer, J., Goodson, B., Creps, C., Werner, A., & Bernstein, L. (2001). National Evaluation of Family Support Programs. Final Report, Vol. B: Research Studies. Cambridge, MA: Abt Associates. (
  12. Leidy, M., Guerra, N. G., & Toro, R. (in press). Family-based interventions to prevent youth violence among Latinos: A review and synthesis of the literature. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences. Google Scholar
  13. Liaw, F., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1994). Cumulative familial risks and low-birthweight children’s cognitive and behavioral development. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 23, 360–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lundahl, B., Risser, H. J., & Lovejoy, M. C. (2006). A meta-analysis of parent training: Moderators and follow-up effects. Clinical Psychology Review, 26, 86–104.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Metropolitan Area Child Study. (2002). A cognitive-ecological approach to preventing aggression in urban settings: Initial outcomes for high-risk children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 179–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Moffitt, T. E. (2003). Life-course persistent and adolescence-limited antisocial behavior: A 10-year research review and a research agenda. In B. Lahey, T. E. Moffitt, & A. Caspi (Eds.), The causes of conduct disorder and serious juvenile delinquency (pp. 49–75). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  17. Musher-Eizenman, D. R., Holub, S. C., Miller, A. B., Goldstein, S. E., & Edwards-Leeper, L. (2004). Body size stigmatization in preschool children: The role of control attributions. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 29, 613–620.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. National Coalition of Hispanic Health and Human Services Organizations. (1995). Meeting the health promotion needs of Hispanic communities. American Journal of Health Promotion, 9, 300–311.Google Scholar
  19. Philliber Research Associates, (2000). The Juvenile Crime Prevention Demonstration Project: Statewide Final Report (January 1996May 2000). California.Google Scholar
  20. Rabe-Hesketh, S., & Skrondal, A. (2005). Multilevel and longitudinal modeling using stata. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP.Google Scholar
  21. Sampson, R. J., Raudenbush, S. W., & Earls, F. (1997). Neighborhoods and Violent Crime: A multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science, 277, 918–924.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sherbourne, C. D., & Stewart, A. L. (1991). The MOS social support survey. Social Science Medicine (Great Britain), 32(6), 705–714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Tafoya, S. (2004). Shades of belonging. Pew Hispanic Center Report. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  24. Webster-Stratton, C., Mihalic, S., Fagan, A., Arnold, D., Taylor, T., & Tingley, C. (2001). Blueprints for violence prevention: Book eleven: The incredible years: Parent, teacher, and child training series. Boulder, CO: Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.Google Scholar
  25. Yoshikawa, H., Weisner, T. S., Kalil, A., & Way, N. (2008). Mixing qualitative and quantitative research in developmental science: Uses and methodological choices. Developmental Psychology, 44, 344–354.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Community Research and Action 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lyndee Knox
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nancy G. Guerra
    • 2
  • Kirk R. Williams
    • 2
  • Rosa Toro
    • 2
  1. 1.LA Net, A Project of Community PartnersLong BeachUSA
  2. 2.University of California at RiversideRiversideUSA

Personalised recommendations