The authors report on a study aimed at determining the effectiveness of a preventive intervention program for 11-year-old African American youths and their families; they provide their research sample, methodology, and outcomes, and discuss the implications regarding family-based prevention programs.
A randomized prevention trial was conducted contrasting families who took part in the Strong African American Families Program (SAAF), a preventive intervention for rural African American parents and their 11-year-olds, with control families. The trial, which included 671 families, indicated that intervention-induced changes occurred in intervention-targeted parenting and youth behavior, as well as youth initiation of alcohol use and sexual activity. Four waves of data collected were obtained at pre-test, three-month post-test, 29 month long-term follow up; and 65 month long-term follow up. Three data points were selected and analyzed in the current study: pre-test, post-test, and 65 month long-term follow up to capture the sustainability of SAAF during three critical developmental stages: middle childhood; early adolescence; and late adolescence. Intervention-induced changes in parenting mediated the effect of intervention-group influences on changes in the onset and escalation of alcohol use and sexual activity over 65 months through its positive influence on youths’ perceptions and internalization of parental norms and resistance to engaging in risk opportunities. These findings highlight the potential for family-based prevention programs to enhance positive developmental outcomes to reduce HIV-related risk behaviors among rural African American youth. Publisher Abstract Provided
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