Cultural Adaptation, Appropriateness and Perceptions of Change after Participation in the SFP 10-14 in Panama

Anilena Mejia Lynch

Introduction: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has invested widely in the dissemination and implementation of the Strengthening Families Program 10-14 (SFP 10-14) in Central America. SFP 10-14 is a family-skills training program designed to address risk and protective factors in families. It has proven effective for reducing aggressive behavior and drug use in adolescents. Although it has been implemented in many low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) worldwide, its effectiveness and cultural fit has mainly been evaluated in high-income countries such as the US, Germany and the UK. The present study is one of the first assessing cultural appropriateness and perception of changes after a group of parents took part in the SFP 10-14 in Panama.

Methods: A qualitative methodology was used with the aim of exploring parents’ perception and recollection of the intervention. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 Panamanian parents that took part in SFP 10-14 in between 2010 and 2012. Parents’ narratives were analyzed through thematic analysis taking a participant-driven inductive stand.

Results: In terms of cultural appropriateness, SFP 10-14 seemed to fit the needs of Panamanian parents. Most of the parents interviewed expressed concerns such as being worried about their children’s academic performance and the dangerous world they are living in. They reported that the program addressed these concerns appropriately by focusing on communication and resilience. In terms of effectiveness, parents’ narratives suggested changes in themselves as parents, in their children, in the interaction between the two of them, and in their functioning as a couple. They described changes in communication, limits, obedience, relationship roles, emotional regulation and social development. For example, there was a reduction in the use of shouting and parents reported being able to control their emotions in a healthier manner.

Conclusions: Results from this study suggest that the SFP 10-14 was culturally appropriate and produced positive changes in the lives of Panamanian parents. Parents interviewed for this study appeared to hold positive views about the program. These findings can be used to inform the international dissemination of SFP 10-14. Our participant-driven qualitative methodology is feasible for replication in real-world service delivery settings to explore the fit of this or similar interventions with ethnically diverse populations.

This abstract was submitted to the 2017 Society for Prevention Research Annual Meeting.

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