Methods: Families were administered a pre and posttest measuring parenting skills, protective factors, and parent-child relationships. Participants included 372 individuals (youth = 197, parents = 175). Youth ranged in age from 10 – 18. In terms of acculturation, the sample was equally divided among low acculturation (51%) and high acculturation (49%).
A categorical variable of acculturation (low/high) served as the independent variable in all statistical analyses. Dependent variables included posttest scores on several subscales. Pretest scores served as covariates. Paired sample t-tests were run to assess differences from pretest to posttest. Three separate MANCOVAs were used to assess differences between low and high acculturated families on aforementioned variables.
Results: Paired sample t-tests revealed significant desired results. Both parents and youth had significantly improved from pretest on the target variables. Familias Unidas had a positive effect on parent-child interaction t (134) = 2.94: p < .01 and less conflict t (88) = -2.15: p < .05. Parents reported an increase in parenting skills t (131) = 2.83: p < .01. Youth who participated in the program reported decreased engagement in sexual risk behaviors and an increase in their ability to refuse sexual activity t (176) = 1.99: p < .05. Youth also had a significant decrease in aggressive and hostile behaviors t (155) = 2.07: p < .05.
Pretest to posttest group differences were examined using three separate one-way MANCOVAs. One focused on differences in youth outcomes, another on differences in parent outcomes and the last one on differences in the relationship between youth and parent from pretest to posttest. However, the MANCOVAs produced no significant results.
Conclusion: The findings did not substantiate the hypothesis that acculturation would affect differences in family functioning after participation in FU, suggesting that this prevention program can be equally applicable to Latino families regardless of their level of acculturation. Possible explanations for this finding include: inadequate measure of acculturation, the issues addressed in FU cut across cultural lines, and/or FU facilitators made additional cultural adaptations.