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J Adolesc Health. 2008 Nov;43(5):474-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.04.016. Epub 2008 Jul 31.

Long-term effects of the strong African American families program on youths' conduct problems.

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  • 1Center for Family Research, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30605-4527, USA.



The Strong African American Families program, a universal intervention to deter alcohol use among rural African American preadolescents, was evaluated to determine whether it also prevented conduct problems across the 29 months separating the pretest and long-term follow-up assessments. The program is based on a contextual model in which intervention effects on parental behavior and youth protective factors are hypothesized to lead to behavior changes.


African American 11-year-olds (N = 667) and their primary caregivers were randomly selected from public school lists of fifth-grade students and randomly assigned to an intervention (n = 369) or control (n = 298) condition. Intervention families participated in a 7-week family skills training program designed to deter alcohol use. Each meeting included separate, concurrent sessions for parents and children, followed by a joint parent-child session during which the families practiced the skills they learned in their separate sessions. Control families were mailed leaflets regarding early adolescent development, stress management, and exercise. All families completed in-home pretest, posttest, and long-term follow-up interviews during which parent-report and self-report data regarding conduct problems, low self-control, deviance-prone peer affiliations, parenting, and youth protective processes were gathered.


Intent-to-treat analyses indicated that prevention-group youth were less involved than control-group youth in conduct problems across time. As hypothesized, prevention effects were stronger for youth at greater risk of developing conduct problems. Intervention targeted parenting and youth factors partially accounted for intervention effects among high risk youth.


Although the Strong African American Families program was designed to deter underage drinking, it is also effective in preventing the development of conduct problems.

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