Prevention Science

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 572–583 | Cite as

Decreasing Substance use Risk among African American Youth: Parent-based Mechanisms of Change

  • Steven R. H. Beach
  • Allen W. Barton
  • Man Kit Lei
  • Jelani Mandara
  • Ashley C. Wells
  • Steven M. Kogan
  • Gene H. Brody


African American couples (N = 139; 67.7 % married; with children between the ages of 9 and 14) were randomly assigned to (a) a culturally sensitive, couple- and parenting-focused program designed to prevent stress-spillover (n = 70) or (b) an information-only control condition in which couples received self-help materials (n = 69). Eight months after baseline, youth whose parents participated in the program, compared with control youth, reported increased parental monitoring, positive racial socialization, and positive self-concept, as well as decreased conduct problems and self-reported substance use. Changes in youth-reported parenting behavior partially mediated the effect of the intervention on conduct problems and fully mediated its impact on positive self-concept, but did not mediate effects on lifetime substance use initiation. Results suggest the potential for a culturally sensitive family-based intervention targeting adults’ couple and parenting processes to enhance multiple parenting behaviors as well as decrease youths’ substance use onset and vulnerability.


African American Prevention Couples Parenting Substance use Adolescence 



This article was supported in part by grant R01 HD069439 awarded to Steven R. H. Beach and grant P30 DA027827 awarded to Gene H. Brody. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This article was supported in part by grant R01 HD069439 awarded to Steven R. H. Beach and grant P30 DA027827 awarded to Gene H. Brody.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven R. H. Beach
    • 1
  • Allen W. Barton
    • 1
  • Man Kit Lei
    • 1
  • Jelani Mandara
    • 2
  • Ashley C. Wells
    • 1
  • Steven M. Kogan
    • 3
  • Gene H. Brody
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Family ResearchUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.School of Education and Social PolicyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  3. 3.Center for Family Research and Department of Human Development and Family ScienceUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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