Family-Focused Preventive Intervention for Mexican American
Youths: Outcomes Reported by Parents, Teachers, and Youths
of people leave their home societies to seek opportunities
in other societies. Many immigrants to the United States come
from Mexico. To reduce risks for substance use, internalizing,
externalizing, and school problems among Mexican American
youths, Gonzales et al. (2012) tested a family-focused intervention
for Mexican American middle school students. The "Bridges
to High School Program/Projecto Puentes a la Secundaria"
("Bridges/Puentes") program was implemented with
338 randomly assigned families of Mexican American 7th graders.
The program included separate evening sessions for parents
and their 7th graders on nine occasions at the youths' schools.
Following each separate parent and youth session, parents
and youths met for a conjoint session. The program also included
two home visits and a school liaison to help families apply
program skills to school-related programs. An additional 178
families were randomly assigned to a "low dose"
condition consisting of a single 1.5-hour evening session
where the families developed their own plans to support school
success. Randomized assignments to the two conditions were
stratified by whether English or Spanish was the predominant
language in the family. Mediators that were expected to affect
one-year outcomes included scales assessing parent-reported
effective parenting and youth-reported family cohesion, youth's
coping efficacy, and school engagement. The mediation measures
were obtained before and immediately after the intervention
conditions. Outcome measures were obtained prior to the intervention
conditions and one year after the interventions. The outcome
measures included CBCLs completed separately by mothers and
fathers, TRFs completed by teachers, and YSRs completed by
youths, plus grade point average, number of school disciplinary
actions, and youth-reported substance use. Mothers' CBCL ratings
yielded significantly lower Externalizing scores following
the Bridges/Puentes condition than the low-dose condition.
However, most results involved complex moderation by family
variables and baseline levels of the outcome measures, as
well as by the hypothesized mediators. The hypothesized mediators
also affected relations between baseline and outcome scores.
For example, the significant effect of the Bridges/Puentes
intervention on CBCL Externalizing scores was mediated by
reductions in harsh maternal parenting. Many more significant
effects were found on the hypothesized mediators for families
whose predominant language was Spanish than for those whose
predominant language was English. The authors concluded that
"It is possible that the program was more sensitive to
the unique needs of less acculturated immigrant families and
that these families were more motivated to attend and also
better able to benefit from the program" (p. 14).
Gonzales, N.A. et al. (2012) Randomized trial of a broad preventive
intervention for Mexican American adolescents. Journal
of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80, 1-16.