Strong African American Families Program (SAAF)

Scientific Rating:
2
Supported by Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
Medium
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) has been rated by the CEBC in the area of: Parent Training Programs that Address Behavior Problems in Children and Adolescents.

Target Population: African American youth, aged 10-14, and their parents/caregivers

For children/adolescents ages: 10 – 14

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 10 – 14

Brief Description

SAAF is a culturally tailored, family-centered intervention program designed to build on the strengths of African American families. The overarching goal of SAAF is to prevent substance abuse and other risky behavior among youth by strengthening positive family interactions, enhancing primary caregivers’ efforts to help youth reach positive goals, and preparing youth for their teen years.

For parents, SAAF aims to strengthen parenting practices related to monitoring and supporting youth, articulating parental expectations for alcohol use, communicating with youth about sex, and promoting positive racial socialization. It also works to promote youths’ ability to focus on goals for the future, resist involvement in risk behaviors, maintain negative images of risk behaviors and peers who engage in them, and accept parental influences.

Program Goals:

The goals of Strong African American Families (SAAF) are:

  • For Youth:
    • Lower initiation of substance use
    • Fewer conduct problems
    • Delay in initiation of sex
    • Increase in positive racial identity
    • Increased level of future orientation
  • For Parent/Caregiver:
    • Decrease in maternal depression
    • Increase in positive racial identity
    • Increase in quality and quantity of parent/child communication

    Essential Components

    The essential components of Strong African American Families (SAAF) include:

  • Family-based: Parents/caregivers and youth in the program together
  • Culturally specific: Designed for African American families (e.g., parenting practices, content to address different ways of dealing with discrimination, activities to build cultural pride)
  • Group-based: Designed for up to 12 families per group with recommended minimum of 6 families to successfully facilitate group discussions and activities
  • Modular: Each SAAF Session includes 3 “modules” – Youth, Caregiver and Family:
    • 1st hour: Youth and Caregiver modules run concurrently with activities, discussion, and skill-building lessons in separate youth and adult groups
    • 2nd hours: Family module with all families together with activities for individual family units as well as large group activities
  • Interactive methods of content delivery: DVDs, group discussion, brainstorming, role-playing, and games utilized to deliver the content
  • 3-person facilitator team: 1 facilitator for the caregiver group and 2 facilitators for the youth group then they all work together to lead the family module
  • Scripted: Manual is written such that facilitators know exactly what should be said (or paraphrased) to ensure that the main concepts are delivered over the 7 sessions
  • Facilitator Training: Reviews of all program activities as well as provides an opportunity for facilitators to practice delivering specific content; also allows for discussion about adaptations/modifications based on specific needs, concerns, and priorities of the organization and/or the target population
  • Creed: Each individual module (Youth, Caregivers, and Family) concludes with the group members reciting a Creed which affirms cultural strength, perseverance, and pride
  • Strengths-based: Rather than telling caregivers what they should do, SAAF presents different strategies and encourages discussion about the pros and cons of the strategy (e.g., communication, punishment, responding to racism)
  • Empathy-building: Activities help parents and youth understand things from each other’s perspective and build empathy for each other
  • Child/Adolescent Services

    Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

    • Experiencing or have the potential to experience aggressive behaviors, academic challenges, self-esteem issues, involvement in risky behaviors

    Parent/Caregiver Services

    Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

    • Parent/caregiver of preteen or early teen youth experiencing or who have the potential to experience aggressive behaviors, academic challenges, self-esteem issues, involvement in risky behaviors

    Delivery Settings

    This program is typically conducted in a(n):

    • Community Agency
    • Community Daily Living Settings
    • School

    Homework

    This program does not include a homework component.

    Languages

    Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) does not have materials available in a language other than English.

    Resources Needed to Run Program

    The typical resources for implementing the program are:

    • At least two rooms are needed – one room should be large enough to accommodate the family session with up to 30 individuals and should be used for the Youth activities as the youth group needs more room than the caregiver group

    • Equipment to show a DVD (e.g., TV/DVD player; computer with projector) for each room

    • Three facilitators

    Minimum Provider Qualifications

  • Education - Ideally, facilitators have some level of higher education (e.g., some college courses).
  • Facilitation Experience – Facilitators should have some experience with group facilitation and/or teaching a structured class/program.
  • Cultural competence – Facilitators should have experience working with African American youth and their caregivers. It is important that facilitators are able to appreciate the strengths as well as concerns of the African American community; however, being of African descent is not a requirement.
  • Training – Facilitators are required to attend the 3-day training conducted by SAAF Master Trainers to become Certified SAAF Facilitators.
  • Education and Training Resources

    There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

    Training Contact:
    • Tracy Anderson, SAAF Dissemination Coordinator
      Center for Family Research-University of Georgia

      phone: (706) 425-2992
    Training is obtained:

    The training typically occurs on-site or in another local location of the organization/agency that is hosting the training. A minimum of 5 training participants; a maximum of 30. The training must be conducted by SAAF Master Trainers in collaboration with the Center for Family Research.

    Number of days/hours:

    Three 8-hour days

    Implementation Information

    Since Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) is rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

    Show implementation information...

    Pre-Implementation Materials

    There are pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) as listed below:

    An Agency Readiness Assessment is available to organizations that are considering adopting the SAAF Program. It is a series of questions (Yes/No) that address fit with the organization’s culture and goals, access to the target population, implementation needs, and funding (start-up and implementation).

    Organizations interested in receiving the Assessment should contact Tracy Anderson, the SAAF Dissemination Coordinator, at tnander@uga.edu or (706) 425-2992.

    Formal Support for Implementation

    There is formal support available for implementation of Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) as listed below:

    The Dissemination Coordinator is available for ongoing technical assistance regarding the curriculum as well as implementation issues. The adopting agency can also arrange to receive a site visit (fidelity visit) at an additional cost. This site visit is designed to provide the site with feedback regarding fidelity and offer suggestions for future implementation.

    Fidelity Measures

    There are fidelity measures for Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) as listed below:

    Organizations that purchase the program receive a Fidelity Manual. This manual includes 21 Adherence Checklists, which correspond to each of the 3 modules in each of the 7 sessions of the program as well as instructions for using the forms. These measures are not publicly available and are only provided in whole to organizations that have adopted SAAF. A sample of the form can be provided by request to Tracy Anderson, SAAF Dissemination Coordinator at tnander@uga.edu or (706) 425-2992.

    Implementation Guides or Manuals

    There are implementation guides or manuals for Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) as listed below:

    Organizations that purchase the program receive a SAAF Site Resource Manual. This manual includes recommendations for implementation as well as information regarding sustainability. This manual is only available to organizations that have adopted SAAF. A general implementation plan can be provided by request to Tracy Anderson, SAAF Dissemination Coordinator at tnander@uga.edu or (706) 425-2992.

    Research on How to Implement the Program

    Research has been conducted on how to implement Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) as listed below:

    Kogan, S. M., Lei, M.-K., Brody, G. H., Futris, T. G., Sperr, M., & Anderson, T. (2016). Implementing family-centered prevention in rural African American communities: A randomized effectiveness trial of the Strong African American Families program. Prevention Science, 17(2), 248-258. doi:10.1007/s11121-015-0614-3

    Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

    This program is rated a "2 - Supported by Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The program must have at least one rigorous randomized controlled trial with a sustained effect of at least 6 months. The article(s) below that reports outcomes from an RCT showing a sustained effect of at least 6 months has an asterisk (*) at the beginning of its entry. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

    Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

    Show relevant research...

    Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F. X., Molgaard, V., McNair, L., ... Chen, Y. -f. (2004). The strong African American families program: Translating research into prevention programming. Child Development, 75(3), 900-917. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2004.00713.x

    Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
    Number of Participants: 332

    Population:

    • Age — Children: 11 years, Parents: Mean=38.1-39.4 years
    • Race/Ethnicity — Children: 100% African American, Parents: 100% African American
    • Gender — Children: Not specified, Parents: 100% Mothers
    • Status — Participants were parents and children from lower socio-economic status.

    Location/Institution: 8 rural counties in Georgia

    Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
    In this study, the efficacy of the Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) was tested in regards to communicative parenting and youth protective factors between SAAF participants and control group members. The eight counties were randomly assigned to either the control or the intervention condition, resulting in the assignment of four counties to each condition. Measures utilized include the Racial Socialization Scale and the Parental Communication About Sex Scale. Results indicated that families who participated in SAAF experienced greater changes from pretest to posttest in regulated, communicative parenting and youth protective factors compared with control-group families. Limitations include fathers rarely participated in the prevention program even though they were invited to do so, generalizability to rural African American families in other geographic regions or from dissimilar socioeconomic backgrounds, and length of follow-up.

    Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months.

    Brody, G. H., Murry, V. M., Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F. X., McNair, L., Brown, A. C., … Chen, Y. -f. (2006). The Strong African American Families Program: Prevention of youths’ high-risk behavior and a test of a model of change. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(1), 1-11. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.20 .1.1

    Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
    Number of Participants: 332

    Population:

    • Age — Children: 11 years, Parents: Not specified
    • Race/Ethnicity — Children: 100% African American, Parents: 100% African American
    • Gender — Children: Not specified, Parents: Not specified
    • Status — Participants were parents and children from lower socio-economic status.

    Location/Institution: 8 rural counties in Georgia

    Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
    This study utilizes information from Brody et al. (2004). In this study, the efficacy of the Strong African American Families Program (SAAF) was tested. The eight counties were randomly assigned to either the control or the intervention condition, resulting in the assignment of four counties to each condition. Measures utilized include the Racial Socialization Scale, and the Parental Communication About Sex Scale. Results indicated that families who participated in SAAF experienced increases over time in regulated, communicative parenting; increases in targeted parenting behaviors, according to youths’ reports; and low rates of high-risk behavior initiation among youths. Limitations include fathers rarely participated in the prevention program even though they were invited to do so, generalizability due to ethnicity, and length of follow-up.

    Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months.

    *Beach, S. R. H., Kogan, S. M., Brody, G. H., Chen, Y. -f., Lei, M. -K., & Murry, V. M. (2008). Change in caregiver depression as a function of the Strong African American Families Program. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(2), 241-252. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.22.2.241

    Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
    Number of Participants: 167

    Population:

    • Age — Children: Mean=11.2 years, Parents: 35-37 years
    • Race/Ethnicity — 100% African American
    • Gender — Children: Not specified, Parents: 100% Female
    • Status — Participants were parents and children from lower socio-economic status.

    Location/Institution: 9 rural counties of Georgia

    Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
    This study utilizes information from Brody et al. (2004). The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the Strong African American Families (SAAF) on a subset of 167 families in which the primary caregivers demonstrated elevated levels of depressive symptoms at pretest as indicated by a score of 16 or higher on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression scale (CES–D). Out of the nine counties, two of them were combined into a single population unit, yielding eight county-units that were randomly assigned to either the control or SAAF condition, four units per condition. Measures utilized include the Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression scale (CES–D), the Perceived Competence Scale for Children, and the Children’s Self-Control Scale. Results at 2-year follow-up indicated that for caregivers with CES–D scores of 16 or higher, the SAAF program’s effect was significant in reducing depressive symptoms, enhancing regulated-communicative parenting, and increasing youth intrapersonal competencies. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures and may not be generalizable to rural African American families in other geographic regions or from dissimilar socioeconomic backgrounds.

    Length of postintervention follow-up: 2 years.

    Brody, G. H., Kogan, S. M., Chen, Y.-f., & Murry, V. M. (2008). Long-term effects of the Strong African American Families program on youths’ conduct problems. Journal of Adolescent Health, 43(5), 474-481. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.04.016

    Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
    Number of Participants: 667

    Population:

    • Age — Children: Mean=11.2 years, Parents: 37-39 years
    • Race/Ethnicity — Children:100% African American, Parents:100% African American
    • Gender — Children: 52.7% Girls, Parents: Not specified
    • Status — Participants were parents and children from lower socio-economic status.

    Location/Institution: 9 rural counties in Georgia

    Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
    The purpose of this study was to determine the whether the Strong African American Families (SAAF), a 7-week family skills training designed to deter alcohol use, also prevented conduct problems. Randomization occurred at the county level and participant level. Two of the nine counties were combined into a single population unit, yielding eight county-units that were randomly assigned to either the control or the intervention condition, four per condition. Additionally, participants and their primary caregivers were randomly selected from public school lists of fifth-grade students and randomly assigned to an intervention (n=369) or control (n= 298) condition. Intervention families participated in SAAF. Measures utilized include the National Youth Survey, Humphrey’s Self-Control Inventory, Racial Socialization Scale, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Measure. Results indicated that compared with adolescents in the control condition, fewer youth in the SAAF group increased their involvement in conduct problems over time. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, male caregivers rarely participated in the program even though they were invited to do so, and may not be generalizable to rural African American families in other geographic regions or from dissimilar socioeconomic backgrounds.

    Length of postintervention follow-up: 29 months.

    Murry, V. M., McNair, L. D., Myers, S. S., Chen, Y.-f., & Brody, G. H. (2014). Intervention induced changes in perceptions of parenting and risk opportunities among rural African American [sic]. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 23(2), 422-436. doi:10.1007/s10826-013-9714-5

    Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial (secondary data analysis)
    Number of Participants: 671

    Population:

    • Age — Children: Mean=11.2 years, Parents: Mean=38.1 years
    • Race/Ethnicity — 100% African American
    • Gender — Children: 54% Female, Parents: 100% Female
    • Status — Participants were parents and children from lower socio-economic status.

    Location/Institution: Rural Georgia

    Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
    The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of the Strong African American Families (SAAF) on the parenting practices and the active role of youths in explaining avoidance of risky sexual activities and alcohol use of rural African American youth as they transition into adolescence. Measures utilized include the Parental Communication about Sex Scale, and the Racial Socialization Scale. Results indicated that rural African American families who participated in SAAF experienced increases in both parent and youth reports of regulated-communicative parenting, which in turn increased youth’s avoidance of risk opportunity situations and engagement in risk behavior. Limitations include reliance on self-reported measures, male caregivers rarely participated in the program even though they were invited to do so, and may not be generalizable to rural African American families in other geographic regions or from dissimilar socioeconomic backgrounds.

    Length of postintervention follow-up: 3, 29, and 65 months.

    Brody, G. H., Yu, T., Chen, Y.-f., Beach, S. R. H., & Miller, G. E. (2015). Family-centered prevention ameliorates the longitudinal association between risky family processes and epigenetic aging. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12495

    Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial (secondary data analysis)
    Number of Participants: 399

    Population:

    • Age — Children: Mean=11.61-11.73 years, Parent: 37.56-37.57 years
    • Race/Ethnicity — 100% African American
    • Gender — Children: 218 Female and 181 Male; Parent: Not specified
    • Status — Participants were parents and children from lower socio-economic status.

    Location/Institution: 9 rural counties in Georgia

    Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
    This study utilizes information from Brody et al. (2004). The purpose of this study was to determine whether the Strong African American Families (SAAF) heightened parental depressive symptoms would forecast accelerated epigenetic aging for youths. Measures utilized include the Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression scale (CES–D) and blood drawn samples. Results indicated that intervention effects on reductions in harsh parenting accounted for the association between parental depression levels and slower epigenetic aging among offspring. Limitations include SAAF trial was not designed with epigenetic aging as an endpoint, may not be generalizable to rural African American families in other geographic regions or from dissimilar socioeconomic backgrounds, and lack of follow-up.

    Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

    Kogan, S. M., Lei, M.-K., Brody, G. H., Futris, T. G., Sperr, M., & Anderson, T. (2016). Implementing family-centered prevention in rural African American communities: A randomized effectiveness trial of the Strong African American Families program. Prevention Science, 17(2), 248-258. doi:10.1007/s11121-015-0614-3

    Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial (secondary data analysis)
    Number of Participants: 465

    Population:

    • Age — Children: 11 years; Parents: Mean=38.1-39.4 years
    • Race/Ethnicity — 100% African American
    • Gender — Children: Not specified; Parents: 100% Mothers
    • Status — Participants were parents and children from lower socio-economic status.

    Location/Institution: 9 rural counties in Georgia

    Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
    This study utilizes information from Brody et al. (2004). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Strong African American Families (SAAF) to (a) be delivered with high levels of program adherence and (b) deter preadolescent youth’s risk behavior vulnerability by enhancing intervention-targeted youth and family protective processes. Participants were randomly assigned to a SAAF or to a waitlist control group for 1 year. Measures utilized include the Racial Socialization Scale, the Tolerance for Deviance scale, the Interaction Behavior Questionnaire and the Parental Communication About Sex Scale. Results indicate that SAAF, which included training and routine TA, was effective in maintaining high levels of program adherence across the eight implementation sites. Additionally, when compared to the control group, SAAF participants showed significant positive effects on risk behavior vulnerability, intervention-targeted parenting practices, and youth self-regulatory processes and that SAAF significantly deterred risk behavior vulnerability in rural African American preadolescent youth. Limitations include waitlist design precluded long-term follow-up and examination of behavioral outcomes, reliance on self-reported measures and length of follow-up.

    Length of postintervention follow-up: 3 months.

    References

    Murry, V. M., & Brody, G. H. (2004). Partnering with community stakeholders: Engaging rural African American families in basic research and the Strong African American Families preventive intervention program. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 30(3), 113-129. doi:10.1111/j.1752-0606.2004.tb01240.x

    Smith, K. (2004, December). Strong families equal bright futures. Georgia Magazine, 30-33.

    Contact Information

    Name: Tracy Anderson, PhD
    Agency/Affiliation: Center for Family Research-UGA
    Website: www.cfr.uga.edu
    Email:
    Phone: (706) 425-2992
    Fax: (706) 425-2985

    Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: February 2016

    Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2016

    Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: May 2016