Abstract: Quality Implementation and Predictors of Attendance for a Family Strengthening Program for Military Families (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

49 Quality Implementation and Predictors of Attendance for a Family Strengthening Program for Military Families

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Marni Kan, PhD, Research Psychologist, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Jessica Nelson, BA, Senior Project Manager, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Hsiu-Chen Yeh, PhD, Institute Scientist and PROSPER Evaluation Specialist, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Marian E. Lane, PhD, Research Psychologist, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Richard Spoth, PhD, F. Wendell Miller Senior Prevention Scientist Director, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Introduction: Quality implementation of group-based family prevention programs with military families can be adversely affected by unique military family situations, including frequent relocation, parental deployment, and reintegration, that impose barriers to attendance and full participation. This presentation will report on the quality of implementation of an adapted version of the SFP: 10-14 with military families.

Methods: Multivariate regression analyses were performed to examine predictors of program attendance, including demographic characteristics, parenting practices and parent-child relationships, military experiences, youth problem behaviors, and the amount of time between enrollment and a scheduled group. Analyses included 159 parent-child dyads randomized to the 7-week family program. At baseline, most (74%) families included both parents of the target child; average child age was 11 years. One or both parents served in the military on active duty (75%) or in the National Guard/Reserve (25%); 96% of parents (or their spouse/partner) had deployed at least once since 2001. Implementation quality ratings by program facilitators, participants, and observers also were assessed.

Results: Only 39% of families attended one or more program sessions. Reasons for nonattendance included family relocation, scheduling conflicts, or lack of interest. Among attending families, 71% attended four or more sessions. Wait time for the program decreased the likelihood of attending any sessions; family service utilization increased the likelihood. Child truancy increased the likelihood of attending 4 or more sessions and above-average attendance. Parental socialization about substance use was negatively associated with number of sessions attended.

Concerning quality of implementation, parent and youth participation in the program’s activities were rated as “active” according to both facilitators and observers (M = 3.9 and 3.7 on a 0-4 scale, respectively). Observers indicated that 91% of activities were completed as intended and facilitators indicated no implementation challenges in 70% of sessions. Facilitator quality was rated highly by both observers (M = 3.8 on a 0-4 scale) and participants (M = 3.8 for parents and 3.5 for youth on a 0-4 scale). Feedback surveys revealed that parents and youth most enjoyed dedicated family time, importance of working together as a family and setting love and limits, and interaction with other military families. The focus on how to handle peer pressure was also an important theme for parents and youth.

Conclusions: These results suggest that high quality implementation of prevention programs is possible with military families and that it is important to develop strategies that effectively address barriers to attendance.