Parent-Centered Prevention of Risky Behaviors Among Hispanic Youths in Florida.

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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effectiveness of an evidence-based, parent-centered intervention, Familias Unidas, delivered by nonresearch personnel, in preventing substance use (alcohol, illicit drugs) and sex without a condom among Hispanic adolescents.

METHODS: A randomized controlled trial (n = 746) evaluated the effectiveness of Familias Unidas among Hispanic eighth graders (age range = 12-16 years), relative to prevention as usual, within a public school system. School personnel, including social workers and mental health counselors, were trained to deliver the evidence-based intervention. Participant recruitment, intervention delivery, and follow-up ran from September 2010 through June 2014 in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

RESULTS: Familias Unidas was effective in preventing drug use from increasing and prevented greater increases in sex without a condom 30 months after baseline, relative to prevention as usual. Familias Unidas also had a positive impact on family functioning and parental monitoring of peers at 6 months after baseline.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated the effectiveness of a parent-centered preventive intervention program in preventing risky behaviors among Hispanic youths. Findings highlight the feasibility of training nonresearch personnel on effectively delivering a manualized intervention in a real-world setting.