The Strong African American Families program: longitudinal pathways to sexual risk reduction

J Adolesc Health. 2007 Oct;41(4):333-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.04.003. Epub 2007 Jul 12.


Purpose: To identify the mechanisms by which intervention-induced increases in adaptive parenting were associated with a reduction in sexual risk behavior among rural African American adolescents across a 29-month period.

Methods: African American families (N = 284) with 11-year-old children in nine rural Georgian counties participated in the 7-week Strong African American Families (SAAF) project. Counties were randomly assigned to intervention or control conditions. The program was evaluated via pretest, posttest, and long-term follow-up interview data collected in the families' homes. The current paper tests a hypothetical model of program efficacy, positing that intervention-induced changes in parenting behaviors would enhance in youth self-pride, which in turn would forecast changes in sexual behaviors measured 29 months after pretest.

Results: Compared with controls, parents who participated in SAAF reported increased adaptive universal and racially specific parenting. Furthermore, intervention-induced changes in these parenting behaviors were associated indirectly with sexual risk behavior through adolescent self-pride, peer orientation, and sexual intent.

Conclusions: Culturally competent programs, developed through empirical and theoretical research within affected communities, can foster adaptive universal and racially specific parenting, which can have a long-term effect on adolescent sexual risk behavior. Effective strategies for designing and implementing culturally competent programs are discussed.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Black or African American*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Female
  • Georgia
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / prevention & control
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Rural Population
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Unsafe Sex / prevention & control*