A randomized controlled trial of Familias Unidas for Hispanic adolescents with behavior problems

Psychosom Med. 2009 Nov;71(9):987-95. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181bb2913. Epub 2009 Oct 15.


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of Familias Unidas, a Hispanic-specific, parent-centered intervention, in preventing/reducing adolescent substance use, unsafe sexual behavior, and externalizing disorders.

Methods: A total of 213 8th grade Hispanic adolescents with behavior problems and their primary caregivers were assigned randomly to one of two conditions: Familias Unidas or Community Control. Participants were assessed at baseline and at 6, 18, and 30 months post baseline.

Results: Results showed that, relative to a Community Control condition, Familias Unidas was efficacious in preventing or reducing externalizing disorders, preventing and reducing substance use, and in reducing unsafe sexual behavior. The effects of Familias Unidas on these outcomes were partially mediated by improvements in family functioning.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that parent-centered intervention is an efficacious strategy for preventing/reducing specific health risk behaviors in Hispanic adolescents with behavior problems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Community Mental Health Services / methods
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Risk-Taking
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Unsafe Sex / prevention & control
  • Unsafe Sex / psychology