The purpose of this article is to describe a conceptual model of methods used to develop culturally focused interventions. We describe a continuum of approaches ranging from non-adapted/surface-structure adapted programs to culturally grounded programs, and present recent examples of interventions resulting from the application of each of these approaches. The model has implications for categorizing culturally focused prevention efforts more accurately, and for gauging the time, resources, and level of community engagement necessary to develop programs using each of the different methods. The model also has implications for funding decisions related to the development and evaluation of programs, and for planning of participatory research approaches with community members.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Banks, J. A. (2012). Ethnic studies, citizenship education, and the public good. Intercultural Education, 23(6), 467–473.
Botvin, G. J., Schinke, S. P., Epstein, J. A., & Diaz, T. (1994). Effectiveness of culturally focused and generic skills training approaches to alcohol and drug abuse prevention among minority youths. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 8(2), 116–127.
Botvin, G. J., Schinke, S. P., Epstein, J. A., Diaz, T., & Botvin, E. M. (1995). Effectiveness of culturally focused and generic skills training approaches to alcohol and drug abuse prevention among minority adolescents: Two-year follow-up results. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 9(3), 183–194.
Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., Chen, Y., Kogan, S. M., & Brown, A. C. (2006a). Effects of family risk factors on dosage and efficacy of a family-centered preventive intervention for rural African Americans. Prevention Science, 7, 281–291.
Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F. X., McNair, L., Brown, A. C., et al. (2006b). The strong African American families program: Prevention of youths’ high-risk behavior and a test of a model for change. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(1), 1–11.
Castro, F. G., Barrera, M., & Holleran Steiker, L. K. (2010). Issues and challenges in the design of culturally adapted evidence-based interventions. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 6, 213–239.
Castro, F. G., Barrera, M., & Martinez, C. R. (2004). The cultural adaptation of prevention interventions: Resolving tensions between fidelity and fit. Prevention Science, 5, 41–45.
Deschine, N. A., Harthun, M., Denetsosie, S. M., Lewis, S. J., Wolfersteig, W. L., Hibbler, P. K., et al. (2013). Cultural program adaptation to address “deep structure”: The Parenting in 2 Worlds Project for urban American Indian families. Paper presented at the the 21st Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, San Francisco, CA.
Dixon, A., Yabiku, S., Okamoto, S. K., Tann, S. S., Marsiglia, F. F., Kulis, S., et al. (2007). The effects of a multicultural school-based drug prevention curriculum with American-Indian youth in the Southwest US. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 28(6), 547–568.
Dustman, P., & Kulis, S. S. (2013). Reaching an invisible native population: Implementing a culturally adapted curriculum in urban schools. In S. Okamoto (Chair), Innovations in prevention interventions with indigenous youth and families. Symposium conducted at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, San Francisco, CA.
Edwards, C., Giroux, D., & Okamoto, S. K. (2010). A review of the literature on Native Hawaiian youth and drug use: Implications for research and practice. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 9(3), 153–172.
Fang, L., & Schinke, S. P. (2013). Two-year outcomes of a randomized, family-based substance use prevention trial for Asian American adolescent girls. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27(3), 788–798.
González, N., & Moll, L. C. (2002). Cruzando el Puente: Building bridges to funds of knowledge. Educational Policy, 16(4), 623–641.
Gosin, M. N., Dustman, P. A., Drapeau, A. E., & Harthun, M. L. (2003). Participatory action research: Creating an effective prevention curriculum for adolescents in the Southwest. Health Education Research: Theory and Practice, 18(3), 363–379.
Harthun, M., Dustman, P., Reeves, L., Marsiglia, F. F., & Hecht, M. L. (2009). Using community-based participatory research to adapt keepin’ it REAL: Creating a socially, developmental, and academically appropriate prevention curriculum for 5th graders. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, 53, 12–38.
Hecht, M. L., Marsiglia, F. F., Elek, E., Wagstaff, D. A., Kulis, S., & Dustman, P. (2003). Culturally-grounded substance use prevention: An evaluation of the keepin’ it REAL curriculum. Prevention Science, 4, 233–248.
Helm, S., Lee, W., & Hanakahi, V. (2013). Puni Ke Ola pilot project. In S. Okamoto (Chair), Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (NHOPI) substance abuse prevention interventions. Symposium conducted at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, San Francisco, CA.
Helm, S., & Okamoto, S. K. (2013). Developing the Ho‘ouna Pono substance use prevention curriculum: Collaborating with Hawaiian youth and communities. Hawai‘i Journal of Medicine and Public Health, 72(2), 66–69.
Holleran Steiker, L. K., Castro, F. G., Kumpfer, K., Marsiglia, F. F., Coard, S., & Hopson, L. M. (2008). A dialogue regarding cultural adaptation of interventions. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 8(1), 154–162.
Hwang, W.-C. (2009). The formative method for adapting psychotherapy (FMAP): A community-based developmental approach to culturally adapting therapy. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 40(4), 369–377.
Jumper-Reeves, L., Dustman, P. A., Harthun, M. L., Kulis, S., & Brown, E. F. (2013). American Indian cultures: How CBPR illuminated intertribal cultural elements fundamental to an adaptation effort. Prevention Science. doi:10.1007/s11121-012-0361-7.
Kulis, S. S., & Dustman, P. (2013) The Parenting in 2 Worlds Project: CBPR with urban American Indian families. In S. Okamoto (Chair), Innovations in prevention interventions with indigenous youth and families. Symposium conducted at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, San Francisco, CA.
Kulis, S., Dustman, P. A., Brown, E. F., & Martinez, M. (2013). Expanding urban American Indian youths’ repertoire of drug resistance skills: Pilot results from a culturally adapted prevention program. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 20(1), 35–54.
Kulis, S., Marsiglia, F. F., Elek, E., Dustman, P., Wagstaff, D. A., & Hecht, M. L. (2005). Mexican/Mexican American adolescents and keepin’ it REAL: An evidence-based substance use prevention program. Children and Schools, 27(3), 133–145.
Kumpfer, K. L., Alvarado, R., Smith, P., & Bellamy, N. (2002). Cultural sensitivity in universal family-based prevention interventions. Prevention Science, 3(3), 241–244.
Kumpfer, K. L., Pinyuchon, M., de Melo, A. T., & Whiteside, H. O. (2008). Cultural adaptation process for international dissemination of the strengthening families program. Evaluation and the Health Professions, 31(2), 226–239.
LaFromboise, T., & Howard-Pitney, B. (1995). The Zuni life skills development curriculum: Description and evaluation of a suicide prevention program. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 42(4), 479–486.
LaFromboise, T., & Lewis, H. A. (2008). The Zuni life skills development program: A school/community-based suicide prevention intervention. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 38(3), 343–353.
Lau, A. S. (2006). Making the case for selective and directed cultural adaptations of evidence-based treatments: Examples from parent training. Clinical Psychology: Research and Practice, 13, 295–310.
Marsiglia, F. F., & Kulis, S. (2009). Diversity, oppression, and change: Culturally grounded social work. Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.
Marsiglia, F. F., Kulis, S., Wagstaff, D., Elek, E., & Dran, D. (2005). Acculturation status and substance use prevention with Mexican and Mexican-American youth. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 5(1–2), 85–111.
McKleroy, V. S., Galbraith, J. S., Cummings, B., Jones, P., Harshbarger, C., Collins, C., et al. (2006). Adapting evidence-based behavioral interventions for new settings and target populations. AIDS Education and Prevention, 18(Suppl A.), 59–73.
Moll, L. C., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & González, N. (1992). Fund of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into Practice, 31(2), 132–141.
Morelli, P. T., & Mataira, P. J. (2010). Indigenizing evaluation research: A long-awaited paradigm shift. Journal of Indigenous Voices in Social Work, 1(2), 1–12.
Okamoto, S. K., Helm, S., Pel, S., McClain, L. L., Hill, A. P., & Hayashida, J. K. P. (2012). Developing empirically based, culturally grounded drug prevention interventions for indigenous youth populations. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research. doi:10.1007/s11414-012-9304-0.
Okamoto, S. K., LeCroy, C. W., Tann, S. S., Dixon Rayle, A., Kulis, S., Dustman, P., et al. (2006). The implications of ecologically based assessment for primary prevention with Indigenous youth populations. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 27(2), 155–170.
Parsai, M. B., Castro, F. G., Marsiglia, F. F., Harthun, M. L., & Valdez, H. (2011). Using community based participatory research to create a culturally grounded intervention for parents and youth to prevent risky behaviors. Prevention Science, 12, 34–47.
Resnicow, K., Soler, R., Braithwaite, R., Ahluwalia, J., & Butler, J. (2000). Cultural sensitivity in substance use prevention. Journal of Community Psychology, 28, 271–290.
Ringwalt, C., & Bliss, K. (2006). The cultural tailoring of a substance use prevention curriculum for American Indian youth. Journal of Drug Education, 36, 159–177.
Sims, B., Beltangady, M., Gonzalez, N. A., Whitesell, N., & Castro, F. G. (2013, May). The role of cultural adaptation in dissemination and implementation science. Roundtable conducted at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, San Francisco, CA.
Sims, B., & Crump, A. D. (2013, May). Your federal grant application-practical considerations for lean times. Roundtable conducted at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, San Francisco, CA.
Resources used for preparation of this article were funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse (R34 DA031306, P.I.-Okamoto) and the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01 MD006110, P.I.-Kulis, and P20 MD002316, P.I.-Marsiglia). The authors would like to acknowledge Ms. Jessica Valdez and Ms. Michela Lauricella for their assistance in preparing this manuscript.
About this article
Cite this article
Okamoto, S.K., Kulis, S., Marsiglia, F.F. et al. A Continuum of Approaches Toward Developing Culturally Focused Prevention Interventions: From Adaptation to Grounding. J Primary Prevent 35, 103–112 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-013-0334-z
- Cultural adaptation
- Culturally grounded prevention
- Community-based participatory research
- Health disparities