The Strengthening Families Program 10–14 in Panama: Parents’ Perceptions of Cultural Fit

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Abstract

Parenting interventions are recommended strategies for preventing emotional and behavioral problems in adolescents. Little is known, however, about the cultural fit of these interventions outside high-income English speaking countries. This is one of the first studies to explore parental perceptions of cultural fit of a well-known American parenting intervention, the Strengthening Families Program 10–14, in low-resource communities in Panama. A qualitative methodology was used with the aim of exploring parents’ perception and recollection of the intervention. Thirty Panamanian parents of adolescents aged 10 to 14 years old who received the intervention between 2010 and 2011 were interviewed in 2012. We were not seeking to assess efficacy of the intervention, but to use the methodology to examine cultural fit. Parents’ narratives were analyzed through thematic analysis. They talked about communication, resilience, community-specific concerns such as perceiving their world as dangerous, and concerns commonly experienced by most parents worldwide such as being worried for children’s academic performance. Findings can be used to inform adaptations to the intervention if disseminated cross-culturally. This participant-driven approach offers a methodology that can be replicated in real-world service delivery settings to explore the cultural fit of interventions with ethnically diverse populations inside the United States or overseas.

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