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Program Profile: Strong African American Families (SAAF)

Evidence Rating: Effective - More than one study Effective - More than one study

Date: This profile was posted on June 10, 2011

Program Summary

This is a 7-week alcohol-, drug use-, and early sexual activity–reduction program concentrating on rural African American youths. The program is rated Effective. Treatment group mothers reported more communicative parenting, and that the targeted children had more protective factors than those in the control group. Children in the treatment group were also less likely to use alcohol. The change in parenting behaviors resulted in youths’ avoiding and engaging in risk behavior.

This program’s rating is based on evidence that includes at least one high-quality randomized controlled trial.

Program Description

Program Goals

Strong African American Families (SAAF) is a parental training and family therapy program grounded in social bonding and control theories. The program works to strengthen the attachment between parent and child to reduce the likelihood of youth involvement in various problem behaviors, particularly risky sexual activity and substance abuse.

 

SAAF aims to strengthen parenting practices related to monitoring and supporting youth, articulating parental expectations for alcohol use, communicating with youth about sex, and promoting positive racial socialization. It also works to promote youths’ ability to focus on goals for the future, resist involvement in risk behaviors, maintain negative images of risk behaviors and peers who engage in them, and accept parental influences.

 

Targeted Population

SAAF targets African American families with children 10 to 14 years of age.

 

Program Activities
Facilitators of the intervention, who receive more than 40 hours of training, conduct weekly sessions. Caregivers and their children attend 7 consecutive weekly sessions at a venue in their community (e.g., local community centers, schools, and churches). Youths and caregivers attended sessions separately for 1 hour, followed by a 1-hour joint session.

Caregiver session topics address monitoring, communication, limit setting, parental school involvement, racial socialization, and clear expectations about alcohol use. The youth sessions address goal setting, attitudes about substance use and people who use substances, risk behavior, resistance skills, racial socialization, understanding of parental perspectives, and acceptance of parental influences. The family sessions build upon these topics while supporting efforts to strengthen family relationships, as well as cultural pride and values.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1

Parenting Practices
Brody and colleagues (2006) found that mothers in the Strong African American Families (SAAF) treatment group reported significantly more communicative parenting and that the targeted children had more protective factors than those in the control group.

 

Child Alcohol Use

Children in the treatment group had negative images and attitudes of drinkers, drinking, and early sexual activity, as well as more effective resistance skills and future-oriented goals when compared to those in the control group. Children in the treatment group were also less likely to use alcohol. The treatment group did experience a growth in alcohol use, but its increase was 17.4 percent smaller than the increase in the control group.

Study 2
Change in Parenting Behaviors
Murry and colleagues (2014) found that compared with parents in the control group, parents in the SAAF group experienced significantly greater change in parenting behaviors targeted by the intervention, such as parents discussing their norms and expectations regarding risk behaviors.

Youth Risk Behaviors
The change in parenting behaviors resulted in SAAF group youths’ avoidance of risk opportunity situations and engagement in risk behavior.

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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1

Brody and colleagues (2006) evaluated Strong African American Families (SAAF) using an experimental design in which eight rural Georgia counties were randomly assigned to receive treatment (SAAF programming) or a control condition (brochures about parenting). Families receiving programming attended seven consecutive weekly classes at local community centers. Classes consisted of family instruction and separate classes for parents and children. Participants were chosen from county schools’ enrollment lists. Eleven-year-old students were randomly selected from these lists; their families were invited to participate in the study.

 

 

Out of 521 randomly selected families, 322 participated and completed pretests. The treatment group, 172 families, received SAAF programming. The control group, 150 families, received three informational mailings about parenting techniques. Before treatment, there were no significant differences between the treatment group and the control group. In 53.6 percent of the families the target child was a girl. Of the mothers in families, slightly more than a third were single, another third were married but separated, 23 percent were married and living with their husbands, and 7 percent were living with partners (not married). The median household income was $1,655 per month reflecting the low-income families the intervention targets.

 

Researchers collected observational data through home visits and used parent and child self-reports of behavior. They collected data from families 1 month before the SAAF intervention, 3 months after the classes had ended, and again 2 years following the end of classes. There was seven months between pretest and posttest. First, Hierarchical Linear Modeling was used to compare group equivalence. Next, Structural Equation Modeling was used for hypotheses testing. Specifically, intervention-targeted behaviors such as parenting style and enhancement of youth protective factors were tested to determine whether the SAAF programming had any direct effects. These analyses were replicated using multilevel analysis of covariance.

 

One possible limitation of the study is that only mothers received the parenting classes. Even though both parents were invited to attend the SAAF parenting classes, fathers rarely did so. Additionally, the program is concentrated on rural families and their needs; it is not known how the program would translate and whether it would be effective in an urban setting.

Study 2
Murry and colleagues (2014) evaluated SAAF using a randomized trial.  Nine counties in Georgia were randomly selected to obtain lists of 11-year-old students. Students were then randomly selected from those lists for recruitment to the study. A total of 671 families were randomly assigned to the prevention condition (n=371) or the minimum control condition (n=299). Of the 671 families, 620 remained in the sample and completed a posttest. The 65-month follow-up (almost 5½ years) included 326 families from the prevention group and 245 from the control group. Retention was maintained by calls to families on a regular basis from community liaisons. Additionally, families provided contact information and received a semiannual newsletter.

 

Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to test hypotheses of the study. During each data collection wave, one home visit was conducted for each family. Home visits consisted of self-report questionnaires in interview format. Interviews were private and administered by a data collector to address any literacy complications.

Interviews were conducted separately and privately. Four waves of data were collected, which included pretest, 3-month posttest; 29-month, long-term follow up; and 65-month, long-term follow up.

 

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Cost

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The Strong African American Families (SAAF) program package DVD/CD box set, facilitator implementation manual, and all other related training and support materials costs $7,000. This covers training of facilitators and a technical assistance site visit from SAAF program personnel. Travel costs for the training of facilitators is not included.
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Implementation Information

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For more information on implementation, see the Strong African American Families (SAAF) program Web site through the University of Georgia Center for Family Research: http://www.cfr.uga.edu/saaf1

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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Brody, Gene H., Velma McBride Murry, Steven M. Kogan, Meg Gerrard, Frederick X. Gibbons, Virginia K. Molgaard, Anita C. Brown. Tracy Anderson, Yi–Fu Chen, Zupei Luo, and Thomas A. Wills. 2006. “The Strong African American Families Program: A Cluster-Randomized Prevention Trial of Long-Term Effects and a Mediational Model.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 74(2):356–66.

Study 2
Murry, Velma McBride, Lily D. McNair, Sonya S. Myers, Yi-Fu Chen, and Gene H. Brody. 2014. “Intervention Induced Changes in Perceptions of Parenting and Risk Opportunities Among Rural African Americans.” Journal of Child and Family Studies (23)422–66.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Brody, Gene H., Velma McBride Murry, Meg Gerrard, Frederick X. Gibbons, Virginia K. Molgaard, Lily McNair, Anita C. Brown, Thomas A. Wills, Richard L. Spoth, Zupei Luo, Yi–Fu Chen, and Eileen Neubaum–Carlan. 2004. “The Strong African American Families Program: Translating Research Into Prevention Programming.” Child Development 75(3):900–917.

Brody, Gene H., Velma McBride Murry, Meg Gerrard, Frederick X. Gibbons, Lily McNair, Anita C. Brown, Thomas A. Wills, Virginia K. Molgaard, Richard L. Spoth, Zupei Luo, and Yi–Fu Chen. 2006. “The Strong African American Families Program: Prevention of Youths’ High-Risk Behavior and a Test of the Model of Change.” Journal of Family Psychology 20(1):1–11.

Brody, Gene H., Steven M. Kogan, Yi–Fu Chen, and Velma McBride Murry. 2008. “Long-Term Effects of the Strong African American Families Program on Youth Conduct Problems.” Journal of Adolescent Health 43:474–81.

Brody, Gene H., Yi–Fu Chen, Steven M. Kogan, Velma McBride Murry, and Anita C. Brown. 2010. “Long-Term Effects of the Strong African American Families Program on Youth’s Alcohol Use.” Journal of Consulting and Child Psychology 78(2):281–85.

The University of Georgia Center for Family Research. 2008. “About SAAF.” Accessed June 6, 2011.
http://www.cfr.uga.edu/saaf1
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Program Snapshot

Age: 11 - 13

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black

Geography: Rural

Setting (Delivery): School, Other Community Setting

Program Type: Classroom Curricula, Family Therapy, Parent Training, Alcohol and Drug Prevention

Targeted Population: Families

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide, Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development (formerly Blueprints for Violence Prevention)

Program Developer:
The Center for Family Research
University of Georgia, 1095 College Station Road
Athens GA 30602–4527
Phone: 888.542.3068
Fax: 706.425.2985
Website

Program Director:
Christina Grange
Program Director
The Center for Family Research
University of Georgia, 1095 College Station Road
Athens GA 30602–4527
Phone: 888.542.3068
Fax: 706.425.2985
Website
Email

Training and TA Provider:
Christina Grange
Program Director
The Center for Family Research
University of Georgia, 1095 College Station Road
Athens GA 30602–4527
Phone: 888.542.3068
Fax: 706.425.2985
Website
Email