CATEGORY/THEME: NIDA International Poster Session
TITLE: Familias Unidas for high risk adolescents: Study design of a cultural adaptation and randomized controlled trial of a U.S. drug and sexual risk behavior intervention in Ecuador
Introduction: Developing, testing and implementing evidence-based prevention interventions is important in decreasing substance use and risky sexual behavior among adolescents. This process requires research expertise, infrastructure, resources and several decades of research testing, which might not always be feasible or cost effective, especially for low and middle income countries. Adapting and testing interventions proven to be efficacious in similar cultures might circumvent the time and costs of implementing evidence-based interventions in new settings. Familias Unidas, an efficacious family-based prevention intervention for Hispanic populations in the United States, was identified by researchers in the Universidad Católica de Santiago de Guayaquil as the most relevant for importing, adapting and testing in the Ecuadorian social cultural context. This paper describes Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the study, including training and development of a research infrastructure in the Ecuadorian university necessary to implement this study.
Methods/design: Familias Unidas is a multi-level parent-centered intervention designed to prevent drug use and sexual risk behaviors in Hispanic adolescents. The current study consisted of two phases: Phase 1 was a feasibility study (n = 38) with the purpose of adapting the intervention and study procedures within a single-site school setting in an area with a high prevalence of drug use and unprotected sexual behavior among adolescents in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Phase 2 is a randomized controlled trial (n = 240) of the adapted intervention, Familias Unidas, in two public high schools in the same area with a target population consisting of families with adolescents ages 12 to 14 years old.
Discussion: This project has the potential of benefitting a large population of families with adolescents at high risk of engaging in drug use and unprotected sexual behavior in areas of Ecuador that are disproportionately affected by drug trafficking and its consequences.