Familias Unidas: the efficacy of an intervention to promote parental investment in Hispanic immigrant families

Prev Sci. 2003 Sep;4(3):189-201. doi: 10.1023/a:1024601906942.


This paper reports a test of the efficacy of Familias Unidas, a Hispanic-specific, ecologically focused, parent-centered preventive intervention, in promoting protection against and reducing risk for adolescent behavior problems. Specifically, the intervention was designed to foster parental investment, reduce adolescent behavior problems, and promote adolescent school bonding/academic achievement, all protective factors against drug abuse and delinquency. One-hundred sixty seven Hispanic families of 6th and 7th grade students from three South Florida public schools were stratified by grade within school and randomly assigned to intervention and no-intervention control conditions. Results indicated that Familias Unidas was efficacious in increasing parental investment and decreasing adolescent behavior problems, but that it did not significantly impact adolescent school bonding/academic achievement. Summer-vacation rates of adolescent behavior problems were six times higher in the control condition than in the intervention condition. Furthermore, change in parental investment during the intervention was predictive of subsequent levels of adolescent behavior problems. The findings suggest that Familias Unidas is efficacious in promoting protection and reducing risk for adolescent problem behaviors in poor immigrant Hispanic families.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Family
  • Health Promotion*
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Parenting*
  • Substance-Related Disorders