Cultural adaptation of an evidence based intervention: from theory to practice in a Latino/a community context

Am J Community Psychol. 2011 Mar;47(1-2):170-86. doi: 10.1007/s10464-010-9371-4.


The cultural tailoring of interventions to reach underserved groups has moved from descriptive and proscriptive models to their application with existing evidence based treatments. To date few published examples illustrate the process of cultural adaptation. The current paper documents the adaptation of an evidence based parent training intervention, Parent Management Training-Oregon Model (PMTO™), for Spanish-speaking Latino parents using both process (Domenech Rodríguez and Wieling in Voices of color: first-person accounts of ethnic minority therapists, Sage, Thousand Oaks, 2004) and content (Bernal et al. in J Abnorm Child Psychol 23:67-82, 1995) models. The adaptation took place in stages: a pilot study to ensure feasibility, focus groups to establish appropriate format and goals, and a test of the intervention. Throughout the process the treatment manual was treated as a living document. Changes were applied and documented as the team developed improvements for the adaptation. The present discussion details both process adaptations, (e.g., engaging the treatment developer, community leaders, and parents, and decentering the manual), and content adaptations, (e.g., shaping the appropriateness of language, persons, metaphors, concepts, contexts, methods, and goals). The current research provides support for the idea that cultural adaptations can improve service delivery to diverse groups and can be conducted systematically with documentation for replication purposes. Suggestions for improving the empirical measurement and documentation of the adaptation process are included.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Behavioral Research / methods
  • Culture*
  • Focus Groups
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Oregon
  • Parenting / ethnology*
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Work* / methods
  • Translating