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Evidence-Based Programs

All Evidence-Based Programs

Families Talking Together (FTT)

Overview of the Intervention

Families Talking Together is a brief parent-based intervention to prevent and/or reduce sexual risk behavior among Latino and African American adolescents (ages 11-14). The main component of the intervention is a written program manual distributed to parents, which is designed to promote effective communication skills, build parent-adolescent relationships, help parents develop successful monitoring strategies, and teach adolescents assertiveness and refusal skills. The program can be delivered to parents either individually or in small group sessions, in a range of settings.

Intervention Components

Component 1: Program Manual

Every parent receives a written program manual with 11 modules. The first nine modules are for use by parents and focus on topics such as adolescent development and self-esteem, parenting strategies and communication skills, and adolescent sexual behavior. The last two modules are for use by teens. One covers teen relationships, and the other covers birth control and protection. The modules are intended to promote communication about adolescence and sexual activity between teens and their parents. The materials are available in English and Spanish. Two English versions are available, with one tailored to African American parents.

Component 2: Individual or Group Sessions

The program manual is distributed to parents in face-to-face individual or small group sessions delivered by trained facilitators. The sessions primarily focus on teaching parents how to use the program manual and how to structure conversations with their adolescent children. In addition, parents discuss the topics covered in the program manual, such as communication strategies and parental monitoring. The number and length of sessions may vary according to the delivery setting. The program has been delivered to individuals by health professionals in clinic settings, as well as to small groups of parents in afterschool settings. Additional booster sessions may be delivered to parents after the end of the program.

Theoretical Framework

Study Citation #1: Guilamo-Ramos, V., Bouris, A., Jaccard, J., Gonzalez, B., McCoy, W., & Aranda, D. (2011). A parent-based intervention to reduce sexual risk behavior in early adolescence: Building alliances between physicians, social workers, and parents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48(2), 159–163.

Study setting: Participants were recruited in the waiting room of a pediatric clinic located in a community-based health care clinic in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Study Sample: 264 African American and Latino mothers and their adolescent children

  • Mean age of adolescents was 13 years
  • 85% of mothers were Latino and 15% were African American
  • 48% of adolescents were male and 52% were female
  • Study Design: Randomized controlled trial. Participants were recruited in the waiting room of a pediatric clinic. About half were randomly selected to participate in the intervention and half were selected to receive the “standard care” offered in the clinic. The intervention was delivered individually to participating mothers by a social work interventionist at the time of study enrollment. Short booster sessions were delivered by telephone one and five months after the initial clinic appointment. Surveys were administered immediately before random assignment (baseline) and nine months later.

    Study Rating: The study met the review criteria for a high study rating.

    Study Findings:

    Nine months after the intervention:

  • Adolescents participating in the intervention were significantly less likely to report ever having engaged in vaginal sexual intercourse.
  • Adolescents participating in the intervention reported a significantly lower frequency of sexual intercourse in the past 30 days.
  • The study found no statistically significant program impacts on rates of oral sex.
  • Study Citation #2: Guilamo-Ramos, V., Jaccard, J., Dittus, P., Bouris, A., Gonzalez, B., Casillas, E., & Banspach, S. (2011). A comparative study of interventions for delaying the initiation of sexual intercourse among Latino and black youth. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 43(4), 247–254.

    Study setting: Five middle schools in New York City.

    Study Sample: 2,016 mothers and their adolescent children in 6th or 7th grade

  • Mean age of adolescents was 12 years
  • 75% of mothers were Latino and 25% were African American
  • 50% of adolescents were male and 50% were female
  • Study Design: Randomized controlled trial. Eligible families were selected at random from a sample of five New York City middle schools. Families who agreed to participate were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) a treatment group that received the Families Talking Together program, (2) a treatment group that received a modified version of the abstinence-focused Making a Difference! Program, or (3) a treatment group that received both Families Talking Together and Making a Difference! This report focuses only on the comparison of the first two treatment groups. The programs were administered after school and on weekends, outside of regular school hours. Surveys were administered immediately before random assignment (baseline) and 12 months later.

    Study Rating: The study met the review criteria for a high study rating.

    Study Findings:

    At the 12-month follow-up: The study found no statistically significant differences in rates of sexual intercourse between students in the two treatment groups.

    The study also examined program impacts on frequency of intercourse. Findings for this outcome were not considered for the review because they did not meet the review evidence standards. Specifically, findings were reported only for subgroups of youth defined by sexual activity at follow-up.

    Program impacts were also examined on measures of mother-adolescent communication, maternal monitoring and supervision, perceived maternal expertise and trustworthiness, satisfaction with mother-adolescent relationship, and social desirability tendencies. Findings for these outcomes were not considered for the review because they fell outside the scope of the review.

    Curriculum Materials

    Information on curriculum materials is available through http://www.clafh.org/resources-for-parents/

    Training and TA: The individual or group sessions are administered by trained facilitators. An intervention manual for community health workers is available online at http://www.clafh.org/resources-for-parents/avoiding-adolescent-problem-behaviors/