Cultural Adaptation and Implementation of Family Evidence-Based Interventions with Diverse Populations

Karol Kumpfer, Catia Magalhães, Jing Xie
Prevention Science: the Official Journal of the Society for Prevention Research 2017, 18 (6): 649-659
Family evidence-based interventions (FEBIs) are effective in creating lasting improvements and preventing children's behavioral health problems, even in genetically at-risk children. Most FEBIs, however, were designed for English-speaking families. Consequently, providers have difficulty engaging non-English-speaking populations in their own country or in other countries where the content, language, and recruitment methods of the FEBIs do not reflect their culture. The practical solution has been to culturally adapt existing FEBIs. Research suggests this can increase family engagement by about 40 %. This article covers background, theory, and research on FEBIs and the need to engage more diverse families. Steps for culturally adapting FEBIs with fidelity are presented based on our own and local implementers' experiences in 36 countries with the Strengthening Families Program. These steps, also previously recommended by a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime panel of experts in family skills interventions, include: (1) creating a cultural advisory group, (2) assessing specific needs of cultural subgroups, (3) language translation, (4) hiring implementers from the culture, (5) developing culturally adapted training systems, (6) making cultural adaptations cautiously during repeated delivery, (7) continuous implementation quality and outcome evaluation to assure effectiveness in comparison with the original FEBI, (8) developing local and international dissemination partnerships, and (9) securing funding support for sustainability. Future efficacy trials should compare existing FEBIs to culturally adapted versions to determine comparative cost effectiveness.

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