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Cultural Adaptations to Youth Mental Health Interventions: A Systematic Review


Disparities in mental health care access and use are a serious public health concern for racial and ethnic minority (REM) youth populations across the United States (US). Numerous evidence-based interventions (EBIs) have been developed to address youth mental health concerns; however, evidence suggests that EBIs may require cultural adaptations to have greater efficacy with REM populations. The following study engaged in a systematic review of the existing culturally-adapted EBIs for REM youth in the US. A three-stage systematic review was performed. A total of 52 studies describing the development or evaluation of culturally-adapted EBIs with REM youth populations were included. Information from studies was then abstracted via a rigorous coding process. Specifically, participant characteristics (e.g., age, population risk, race/ethnicity of target audience), intervention characteristics (e.g., name of the original program, target mental health outcome(s), delivery setting, intervention format, intervention orientation, interventionist), and cultural adaptation characteristics (e.g., guiding theory, individuals involved, cultural adaptation content, participatory methods used) were cataloged. Implications for current and future research regarding cultural adaptation of EBIs are presented.


  • Comprehensive systematic review of culturally-adapted interventions for racial and ethnic minority youth in the US.

  • Inclusion of studies with youth, as well as parents/caregivers as intervention participants.

  • Coded content or type of cultural adaptations incorporated in psychological interventions.

  • Reported extent of engagement in participatory-based approaches in culturally-adapted intervention studies.

  • Findings underscore need to increase reporting on the content of and process by which cultural adaptations are made to interventions for youth.

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Arora, P.G., Parr, K.M., Khoo, O. et al. Cultural Adaptations to Youth Mental Health Interventions: A Systematic Review. J Child Fam Stud 30, 2539–2562 (2021).

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  • Youth
  • Mental health
  • Psychological interventions
  • Cultural adaptations
  • Ethnic minority