Parenting in 2 Worlds

Using CBPR to Adapt a Culturally-grounded Prevention Curriculum for Urban American Indian Parents

Principal Investigator: Stephen S. Kulis

Funding: National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, R01 award MD006110 NIMHD (2012-2017)

The P2W study was designed to create and test a culturally grounded parenting intervention specifically for urban American Indian (AI) families through a cultural adaptation of an existing prevention program, Families Preparing the New Generation (FPNG).  Using a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) process involving the three largest urban American Indian communities in Arizona, the adaptation process tailored the parenting skills program to the culture of urban American Indian populations to increase cultural fit while maintaining fidelity to core components of the original FPNG program.  The resulting new intervention, called Parenting in 2 Worlds (P2W), was adapted, piloted, culturally validated, and tested in a randomized control trial (RCT) involving 607 families (half intervention, half comparison/control group) in partnership with the urban Indian communities in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff.  Ecodevelopmental theory provided a foundation for identifying distinctive parental, family, peer, community and cultural influences on urban American Indian youths’ substance use and risky sexual behavior that could be addressed through the P2W intervention. In addition to testing the intervention's efficacy, the study assessed whether and how the participants’ connection to native culture and identity influences program effects, and whether changes in overall family functioning lead to specific parenting practices directed at reducing their children’s risk behaviors.


  • After a pilot version of the program was tested in the three urban sites, and revised, the final P2W curriculum was implemented and tested in a randomized controlled trial relative to an information-only family health curriculum. A total of 607 parents of American Indian adolescents or pre-adolescents from Tucson, Phoenix, and Flagstaff were recruited as participants.
  • The immediate outcomes of P2W demonstrated that parents had significant improvements in effective parenting practices, sense of parental agency, supervision of the adolescent, and family cohesion. Parents also reported significant decreases in child discipline problems and parent-child conflict. Most of these desired program effects for P2W approached medium size and were sustained a year later.
  • Parents in P2W also reported substantial improvements in communication with their child about sex, and decreases in the child’s anti-social behavior. Parents also showed a strengthened sense of their own American Indian cultural identity and Native spirituality, and a decrease in binge alcohol drinking.
  • Additional analysis explored whether widely-used parenting measures that have been validated with different racial and ethnic groups were psychometrically appropriate for urban American Indians. Results suggested that the exclusive nuclear-family focus of standard measures may fail to capture important aspects of how American Indian families function in urban settings.

Kulis, S. S., Ayers, S. L., Harthun, M. L., & Jager, J. (2016). Parenting in 2 Worlds: Effects of a culturally adapted intervention for urban American Indians on parenting skills and family functioning. Prevention Science, 17(6), 721-731. doi: 10.1007/s11121-016-0657-0 Read online PMCID: PMC4939122

Kulis, S. S., Ayers, S. L., & Baker, T. M. (2015). Parenting in 2 Worlds: Pilot results from a culturally adapted parenting program for urban American Indians. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 36(1), 65-70. doi: 10.1007/s10935-014-0376-x Read online PMCID:PMC4289082

Ayers, S. L., Kulis, S. S., & Tsethlikai, M. (in press). Assessing parenting and family functioning measures for urban American Indians. Journal of Community Psychology.  doi: 10.1002/jcop.21844

Parenting in 2 Worlds Research/Evaluation Team (SIRC)

Stephen Kulis, Ph.D., ASU Sanford School of Social & Family Dynamics, Co-Principal Investigator

Eddie Brown, D.S.W., ASU American Indian Studies, Principal Investigator

Wendy Wolfersteig, Director of Evaluation & Partner Contracts

Nicholet Deschine, Research Project Manager

Jo Lewis, Field Project Manager

Stephanie Ayers, Ph.D., SIRC Associate Director of Research

Mary Harthun, MA, SIRC Professional Development Specialist & Curriculum Development

Leslie Jumper Reeves, MA, Curriculum Development

Serena Denetsosie, Curriculum Development

Monica Parsai, Curriculum Development

Tahnee Baker, Graduate Research Assistant

Karyn Denny, Graduate Research Assistant

Katie Morales, Evaluation & Partner Contracts – Analyst


Project Specialists

Melissa Joe, Flagstaff

Taloa Hood, Phoenix          

Lindsay Riggs, Tucson

Kevin Fortuin, Tucson

Curriculum Facilitators


Sarah Bitsinnie

Vanessa Chichirello

Rudy Dawahoya

Fermina Desidenio

Cami Drake

Catherine Esquivel

Denyse Herder (Tso)

Susie B. Joe

Glenda Kaye

Greg Long

Darrell Marks

Lorenda Maktima

Andrea Sanders


Catherine Ahsteen

Pershli Ami

Michelle Begay

Natalyn Begay

Loren Ashley Buford

Patryce Caye

Hedy Emery

Dolores Espino

Nicole Flores

Jeanette Goseyun

Linnea LaFave

Cystal Pewo

Crystal Rope

Taryn Watson

Nerissa White


Carolyn Boulden

Yolanda Gastelo

Rodina Jordan

Stephanie Molina

Vicky Mullins

Cindie Nahsonhoya


SIRC American Indian Steering Committee

Deborah Baker

Judy Basham

Bernice Begay

Jolyana Begay

Laverne Dallas

Yvonne Fortier

Gwenda Gorman

Patti Hibbeler

Sam Hogue

Tim Hunts-in-Winter

Jo Lewis

Debbie Manuel

Debora Norris

Theresa Price

Meredith Robbins

Tim Terry

Edith Thomas

Dorothy Watkins


Sarah Bitsinnie

Vanessa Chichirello

Fermina Desidenio

Maurice Elder

Catherine Esquivel

Denyse Herder (Tso)

Michael Little Owl

Andrea Sanders

Clarice Begay

Collette Butler

Dolores Espino

Nicole Flores

Jamie Gabe

Bonnie Johnson

Delina Josytewa

LaRita Haynes

Amanda Kirk

Dani Yazzie

Brian Bliss

Annette Enos

Nina Francisco

Lana Fred

Yolanda Gastelo

Trina Gilmore

Danita Landeros

Lee Ann Lopez

Cindie Nahsonhoya

Barbara Narcho

Jennifer Salcido

Frenda Williams

Collaborating Organizations

Native Americans for Community Action

Murdoch Center

Coconino Community College

Thomas Elementary School

Flagstaff Unified School District Family Resource Center

Kinsey Elementary School

Frank Elementary

Pascua Yaqui Education Department

Native American Connections

Escalante Community Center

North Canyon High School

Tucson Indian Center

Ha:san Preparatory and Leadership School

Old Pascua Neighborhood Center

Apollo Community School

El Pueblo Regional Center

Roskruge Bilingual Magnet School