Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Black Families Benefit From Preventive Mental Health Intervention

A study covering 502 African-American families in rural Georgia found that a preventive intervention reduced mental health and substance use problems over a follow-up period of almost two years, according to research by Gene Brody, Ph.D., of the Center for Family Research at the University of Georgia, and colleagues in the January Pediatrics.

The Strong African American Families–Teen (SAAF–T) program included five meetings for adolescents and their caregivers held in the community. Adults and teens learned about protective practices like setting limits, monitoring adolescents’ whereabouts, instilling a sense of racial pride, strategies for dealing with discrimination, monitoring and supporting academic achievement, solving problems cooperatively, and promoting adolescent self-regulation. “This study demonstrates that participation in a family-centered preventive intervention reduces conduct problems, substance use, and substance use problems among black adolescents by more than 30% compared with adolescents in an attention control condition across nearly two years,” said the authors.

For more about mental health issues among rural populations in Psychiatric News, click here.

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