Families Preparing the New Generation+


Multi-level Effects of a Parenting Intervention for Enhancing Latino Youth Health Behaviors

Principal Investigator: Sonia Vega-López, PhD, FAHA, Associate Professor, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion

Funding: National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, center grant award U54 2U54MD002316 (2017-2022)

In collaboration with the American Dream Academy, this study is implementing an innovative approach to promote healthy nutrition and prevent substance use among Latino youth through the incorporation of nutrition-based content to a parenting intervention already proven efficacious for substance use prevention. Parents are an important agent of change for youth due to their ability to create a home environment that promotes healthful behaviors (including substance use prevention and healthy nutrition), and parents’ role as providers of resources to the family (including food). Guided by an ecodevelopmental approach, the study hypothesis is that by strengthening the parent-child communication and family functioning, it is possible to simultaneously impact two health behaviors (nutrition and substance use) among Latino youth and positively improve multiple health outcomes. This hypothesis will be tested through a randomized control trial (RCT) implemented implemented in middle schools.  The RCT will compare 1) the nutrition and substance use prevention parenting intervention, 2) the substance use-only parenting intervention; and 3) a comparison intervention focusing on academic success. The study also tests whether hypothesized mediators (family functioning, parenting skills and social support) and moderators (acculturation, acculturative stress, food insecurity, resiliency) influence the program’s effectiveness. The findings provide knowledge about how to help Latino parents assist their adolescent children develop and maintain long-lasting positive lifestyle behaviors in order to prevent substance use and chronic diseases. 


Vega-López, S., Marsiglia, F. F., Ayers, S., Williams, L. R., Bruening, M., Gonzalvez, A., … Hartmann, L. (2019). Methods and rationale to assess the efficacy of a parenting intervention targeting diet improvement and substance use prevention among Latinx adolescents. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 89, 105914. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2019.105914