Familias Unidas

Mental Health Substance Use Prevention or Treatment In-home Parent Skill-Based Well Supported

Familias Unidas is a family-centered intervention that aims to prevent substance use and risky sexual behavior among Hispanic adolescents. Familias Unidas aims to empower parents by increasing their support network, teaching them about protective and risk factors, improving parenting skills, enhancing parent-adolescent communication, and facilitating parental involvement and investment in adolescents’ lives.

 

Familias Unidas consists of five key intervention components: (1) Parents participate in parent support network groups led by two facilitators. Facilitators use participatory learning methods (i.e., learning through dialogue rather than instruction) during group sessions to help establish parental investment, increase parental support, and build self-efficacy. (2) Facilitators conduct family visits in the home. During these visits, facilitators restructure negative interactions within the adolescent’s family, peer, and school networks, and parents apply skills learned during the group sessions. (3) Parents participate in individual and group parent-school personnel meetings aimed at establishing or strengthening positive parent-school connections. (4) Adolescents engage in family supervised activities with their peers that allow parents to become more informed and involved in the adolescent’s peer world. (5) Parents complete family homework assignments to practice parenting skills. Parents discuss the homework assignment during the group sessions.


Familias Unidas is rated as a well-supported practice because at least two studies with non-overlapping samples carried out in usual care or practice settings achieved a rating of moderate or high on design and execution and demonstrated favorable effects in a target outcome domain. At least one of the studies demonstrated a sustained favorable effect of at least 12 months beyond the end of treatment on at least one target outcome.


Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed: Oct 2021


Sources

The program or service description, target population, and program or service delivery and implementation information was informed by the following sources: the program or service manual, the program or service developer’s website, the California Evidence Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, the Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development registry, and the studies reviewed.


This information does not necessarily represent the views of the program or service developers. For more information on how this program or service was reviewed, visit the Review Process page or download the Handbook.

Target Population

Familias Unidas is designed for Hispanic adolescents ages 12 to 16 and their families.

Dosage

Familias Unidas is typically delivered over the course of 12 weeks. The intervention consists of eight parent support network group sessions and four individual family visit sessions, with one session per week. Each parent support network group session lasts 2 hours, and each individual family visit session lasts 1 hour.

Location/Delivery Setting
Recommended Locations/Delivery Settings

Familias Unidas is delivered in a variety of settings, including community-based organizations and schools.

Location/Delivery Settings Observed in the Research

  • Home
  • School

Education, Certifications and Training

It is recommended that facilitators have at least a bachelor’s degree and can speak Spanish. Facilitators must complete a 32-hour training (four 8-hour days) to become certified. The training teaches facilitators about the Familias Unidas theoretical framework and explains the goals, outcomes, intervention strategies, and materials needed for each family support network group and family visit session.  

Certified facilitators can receive additional training to become a Familias Unidas Trainer after they have delivered the intervention at least six times. Trainers must complete a 32-hour Training-of-Facilitators (TOF) training (four 8-hour days) and be observed by a master trainer when completing their first training with their agency.

Program or Service Documentation
Book/Manual/Available documentation used for review

Estrada, Y., Pantin, H. M., Prado, G., Tapia, M. I., & Velazquez, M. R. (2020). UM-Familias Unidas Program: For the families of Hispanic adolescents: Intervention manual. University of Miami.

Available languages

Materials for Familias Unidas are available in English and Spanish.

Other supporting materials

Familias Unidas Brochure

Results of Search and Review Number of Studies Identified and Reviewed for Familias Unidas
Identified in Search 13
Eligible for Review 4
Rated High 4
Rated Moderate 0
Rated Low 0
Reviewed Only for Risk of Harm 0
Outcome Effect Size Effect Size more info
and Implied Percentile Effect Implied Percentile Effect more info
N of Studies (Findings) N of Participants Summary of Findings
Child well-being: Behavioral and emotional functioning -0.02
0
2 (5) 910 Favorable: 1
No Effect: 4
Unfavorable: 0
Child well-being: Substance use 0.31
12
2 (11) 445 Favorable: 4
No Effect: 7
Unfavorable: 0
Adult well-being: Positive parenting practices 0.27
10
2 (5) 444 Favorable: 1
No Effect: 4
Unfavorable: 0
Adult well-being: Family functioning 0.28
11
2 (7) 909 Favorable: 4
No Effect: 3
Unfavorable: 0

Note: For the effect sizes and implied percentile effects reported in the table, a positive number favors the intervention group and a negative number favors the comparison group. Effect sizes for some outcomes were not able to be calculated by the Prevention Services Clearinghouse.

Outcome Effect Size Effect Size more info
and Implied Percentile Effect Implied Percentile Effect more info
N of Studies (Findings) N of Participants Summary of Findings Months after treatment
when outcome measured
Months after treatment when outcome measured more info
Child well-being: Behavioral and emotional functioning -0.02
0
2 (5) 910 Favorable: 1
No Effect: 4
Unfavorable: 0
-
Lee, 2019
Parenting Practices Scale (Adolescent Report) -0.11
-4
- 697 - 3
Parenting Practices Scale (Adolescent Report) -0.08
-3
- 626 - 15
Parenting Practices Scale (Adolescent Report) -0.09
-3
- 531 - 27
Pantin, 2009
Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Predictive Scales: Externalizing Behavior Problems (%) 0.31
12
- 213 - 28
Perrino, 2016
Revised Behavior Problem Checklist: Anxiety-Withdrawal Favorable *
not calculated
- 213 - 28
Child well-being: Substance use 0.31
12
2 (11) 445 Favorable: 4
No Effect: 7
Unfavorable: 0
-
Pantin, 2009
% Reporting Substance Use (Past 30 Days) 0.26
10
- 213 - 28
Prado, 2012b
Substance Use (Past 90 Days) 0.35 *
13
- 232 - 3
Illicit Drug Use (Past 90 Days) 0.30
11
- 232 - 3
Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Predictive Scales: Alcohol Dependence 0.40
15
- 232 - 3
Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Predictive Scales: Marijuana Dependence -0.03
-1
- 232 - 3
Substance Use (Past 90 Days) 0.41 *
15
- 229 - 9
Illicit Drug Use (Past 90 Days) 0.44 *
16
- 229 - 9
Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Predictive Scales: Alcohol Dependence 0.89 *
31
- 229 - 9
Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Predictive Scales: Marijuana Dependence 0.40
15
- 229 - 9
Alcohol Use (Past 90 Days) 0.30
11
- 232 - 3
Alcohol Use (Past 90 Days) 0.27
10
- 229 - 9
Adult well-being: Positive parenting practices 0.27
10
2 (5) 444 Favorable: 1
No Effect: 4
Unfavorable: 0
-
Molleda, 2017
Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale 0.33 *
13
- 212 - 0
Prado, 2012a
Composite Family Functioning Score 0.24
9
- 232 - 3
Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale 0.22
8
- 232 - 3
Parenting Practices Scale 0.21
8
- 232 - 3
Parent Relationship with Peer Group Scale 0.15
6
- 232 - 3
Adult well-being: Family functioning 0.28
11
2 (7) 909 Favorable: 4
No Effect: 3
Unfavorable: 0
-
Estrada, 2017
Family Relations Scale Null
not calculated
- 697 - 3
Parent Relationship with Peer Group Scale Favorable *
not calculated
- 697 - 3
Family Functioning Factor Favorable *
not calculated
- 697 - 3
Lee, 2019
Parenting Practices Scale (Parent Report) 0.03
1
- 697 - 3
Parenting Practices Scale (Parent Report) 0.03
1
- 626 - 15
Parenting Practices Scale (Parent Report) 0.22 *
8
- 531 - 27
Pantin, 2009
Composite Family Functioning Factor Score 0.90 *
31
- 212 - 4

*p <.05

Note: For the effect sizes and implied percentile effects reported in the table, a positive number favors the intervention group and a negative number favors the comparison group. Effect sizes and implied percentile effects were calculated by the Prevention Services Clearinghouse as described in the Handbook of Standards and Procedures, Section 5.10.4 and may not align with effect sizes reported in individual publications. Effect sizes for some outcomes were not able to be calculated by the Prevention Services Clearinghouse.

Only publications with eligible contrasts that met design and execution standards are included in the individual study findings table.

Full citations for the studies shown in the table are available in the "Studies Reviewed" section.

Sometimes study results are reported in more than one document, or a single document reports results from multiple studies. Studies are identified below by their Prevention Services Clearinghouse study identification numbers.

Studies Rated High

Study 11798

Jacobs, P., Estrada, Y. A., Tapia, M. I., Quevedo Teran, A. M., Condo Tamayo, C., Alban Garcia, M., Valenzuela Trivino, G. M., Pantin, H., Velazquez, M. R., Horigian, V. E., Alonso, E., & Prado, G. (2016). Familias Unidas for high risk adolescents: Study design of a cultural adaptation and randomized controlled trial of a U.S. drug and sexual risk behavior intervention in Ecuador. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 47, 244-253. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2016.01.014

Molleda, L., Estrada, Y., Lee, T. K., Poma, S., Quevedo Teran, A. M., Tamayo, C. C., Bahamon, M., Tapia, M. I., Velazquez, M. R., Pantin, H., & Prado, G. (2017). Short-term effects on family communication and adolescent conduct problems: Familias Unidas in Ecuador. Prevention Science, 18, 783-792. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-016-0744-2

Study 11791

Pantin, H., Prado, G., Lopez, B., Huang, S., Tapia, M. I., Schwartz, S. J., Sabillon, E., Brown, C. H., & Branchini, J. (2009). A randomized controlled trial of Familias Unidas for Hispanic adolescents with behavior problems. Psychosomatic Medicine, 71(9), 987-995. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181bb2913

Prado, G. J., Schwartz, S. J., Maldonado-Molina, M., Huang, S., Pantin, H. M., Lopez, B., & Szapocznik, J. (2009). Ecodevelopmental x intrapersonal risk: Substance use and sexual behavior in Hispanic adolescents. Health Education & Behavior, 36(1), 45-61. https://doi.org/10.1177/1090198107311278

Cordova, D., Huang, S., Pantin, H., & Prado, G. (2012). Do the effects of a family intervention on alcohol and drug use vary by nativity status? Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 26(3), 655-660. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0026438

Prado, G., Huang, S., Cordova, D., Malcolm, S., Estrada, Y., Cano, N., Maldonado-Molina, M., Bacio, G., Rosen, A., Pantin, H., & Brown, C. H. (2013). Ecodevelopmental and intrapersonal moderators of a family based preventive intervention for Hispanic youth: A latent profile analysis. Prevention Science, 14(3), 290-299. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-012-0326-x

Perrino, T., Brincks, A., Howe, G., Brown, C. H., Prado, G., & Pantin, H. (2016). Reducing internalizing symptoms among high-risk, Hispanic adolescents: Mediators of a preventive family intervention. Prevention Science, 17(5), 595-605. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-016-0655-2

Study 11796

Vidot, D. C., Huang, S., Poma, S., Estrada, Y., Lee, T. K., & Prado, G. (2016). Familias Unidas' crossover effects on suicidal behaviors among Hispanic adolescents: Results from an effectiveness trial. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 46(Suppl 1), S8-S14. https://doi.org/10.1111/sltb.12253

Estrada, Y., Lee, T. K., Huang, S., Tapia, M. I., Velazquez, M.-R., Martinez, M. J., Pantin, H., Ocasio, M. A., Vidot, D. C., Molleda, L., Villamar, J., Stepanenko, B. A., Brown, C. H., & Prado, G. (2017). Parent-centered prevention of risky behaviors among hispanic youths in Florida. American Journal of Public Health, 107(4), 607-613. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2017.303653

Lee, T. K., Estrada, Y., Soares, M. H., Sanchez Ahumada, M., Correa Molina, M., Bahamon, M. M., & Prado, G. (2019). Efficacy of a family-based intervention on parent-adolescent discrepancies in positive parenting and substance use among Hispanic youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 64(4), 494-501. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.10.002

St George, S. M., Huang, S., Vidot, D. C., Smith, J. D., Brown, C. H., & Prado, G. (2016). Factors associated with the implementation of the Familias Unidas intervention in a type 3 translational trial. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 6(1), 105-114. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13142-015-0344-x

Study 11797

Prado, G., Pantin, H., Huang, S., Cordova, D., Tapia, M. I., Velazquez, M.-R., Calfee, M., Malcolm, S., Arzon, M., Villamar, J., Jimenez, G. L., Cano, N., Brown, C. H., & Estrada, Y. (2012). Effects of a family intervention in reducing HIV risk behaviors among high-risk Hispanic adolescents: A randomized controlled trial. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 166(2), 127-133. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.189

Prado, G., Cordova, D., Huang, S., Estrada, Y., Rosen, A., Bacio, G. A., Leon Jimenez, G., Pantin, H., Brown, C. H., Velazquez, M.-R., Villamar, J., Freitas, D., Tapia, M. I., & McCollister, K. (2012). The efficacy of Familias Unidas on drug and alcohol outcomes for Hispanic delinquent youth: Main effects and interaction effects by parental stress and social support. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 125 (Suppl 1), S18-S25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.06.011

Huang, S., Cordova, D., Estrada, Y., Brincks, A. M., Asfour, L. S., & Prado, G. (2014). An application of the complier average causal effect analysis to examine the effects of a family intervention in reducing illicit drug use among high-risk Hispanic adolescents. Family Process, 53(2), 336-347. https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12068

Perrino, T., Pantin, H., Huang, S., Brincks, A., Brown, C. H., & Prado, G. (2016). Reducing the risk of internalizing symptoms among high-risk Hispanic youth through a family intervention: A randomized controlled trial. Family Process, 55(1), 91-106. https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12132

Kott, A. (2011). Family intervention may reduce HIV risk-taking in Hispanic adolescents. Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health, 43(4), 267-268. https://doi.org/10.1363/4326711





Studies Not Eligible for Review

Study 11788

Brincks, A., Perrino, T., Howe, G., Pantin, H., Prado, G., Huang, S., Cruden, G., & Brown, C. H. (2018). Preventing youth internalizing symptoms through the Familias Unidas intervention: Examining variation in response. Prevention Science, 19, 49-59. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-016-0666-z

This study is ineligible for review because it is not a study of the program or service under review (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.6).

Study 11789

Coatsworth, J. D., Duncan, L. G., Pantin, H., & Szapocznik, J. (2006). Retaining ethnic minority parents in a preventive intervention: The quality of group process.  Journal of Primary Prevention, 27(4), 367-389. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-006-0043-y

Coatsworth, J. D., Duncan, L. G., Pantin, H., & Szapocznik, J. (2006). Patterns of retention in a preventive intervention with ethnic minority families. Journal of Primary Prevention, 27(2), 171-193. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-005-0028-2

Coatsworth, J. D., Pantin, H., & Szapocznik, J. (2002). Familias Unidas: a family-centered ecodevelopmental intervention to reduce risk for problem behavior among Hispanic adolescents. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 5(2), 113–132. https://doi.org/10.1023/a:1015420503275

This study is ineligible for review because it is not a study of the program or service under review (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.6).

Study 11793

Estrada, Y., Rosen, A., Huang, S., Tapia, M., Sutton, M., Willis, L., Quevedo, A., Condo, C., Vidot, D. C., Pantin, H., & Prado, G. (2015). Efficacy of a brief intervention to reduce substance use and human immunodeficiency virus infection risk among Latino youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 57(6), 651-657. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.07.006

This study is ineligible for review because it is not a study of the program or service under review (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.6).

Study 11800

Perez Siwik, V., Kutob, R. M., Ritenbaugh, C., Aickin, M., & Gordon, J. S. (2012). Families United/Familias Unidas: Development and implementation of a family-based group office visit model for the primary prevention of type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Educator, 38(6), 811-821. https://doi.org/10.1177/0145721712461533

Kutob, R. M., Siwik, V. P., Aickin, M., & Ritenbaugh, C. (2014). Families United/Familias Unidas: Family group office visits to reduce risk factors for type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Educator, 40(2), 191-201. https://doi.org/10.1177/0145721714520722

This study is ineligible for review because it is not a study of the program or service under review (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.6).

Study 11801

Pantin, H., Coatsworth, J. D., Feaster, D. J., Newman, F. L., Briones, E., Prado, G., Schwartz, S. J., & Szapocznik, J. (2003). Familias Unidas: The efficacy of an intervention to promote parental investment in Hispanic immigrant families. Prevention Science, 4(3), 189-201. https://doi.org/10.1023/a:1024601906942

This study is ineligible for review because it is not a study of the program or service under review (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.6).

Study 11802

Perrino, T., Pantin, H., Prado, G., Huang, S., Brincks, A., Howe, G., Beardslee, W., Sandler, I., & Brown, C. H. (2014). Preventing internalizing symptoms among Hispanic adolescents: A synthesis across Familias Unidas trials. Prevention Science, 15(6), 917-928. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-013-0448-9

This study is ineligible for review because it is not a study of the program or service under review (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.6).

Study 11804

Prado, G., Pantin, H., Schwartz, S. J., Lupei, N. S., & Szapocznik, J. (2006). Predictors of engagement and retention into a parent-centered, ecodevelopmental HIV preventive intervention for Hispanic adolescents and their families. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 31(9), 874-890. https://doi.org/10.1093/jpepsy/jsj046

This study is ineligible for review because it is not a study of the program or service under review (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.6).

Study 11805

Prado, G., Pantin, H., Briones, E., Schwartz, S. J., Feaster, D., Huang, S., Sullivan, S., Tapia, M. I., Sabillon, E., Lopez, B., & Szapocznik, J. (2007). A randomized controlled trial of a parent-centered intervention in preventing substance use and HIV risk behaviors in Hispanic adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75(6), 914-926. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.75.6.914

This study is ineligible for review because it is not a study of the program or service under review (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.6).

Study 11807

Prado, G., Fernandez, A., St George, S. M., Lee, T. K., Lebron, C., Tapia, M. I., Velazquez, M. R., & Messiah, S. E. (2020). Results of a family-based intervention promoting healthy weight strategies in overweight Hispanic adolescents and parents: An RCT. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 59(5), 658-668. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2020.06.010

St George, S. M., Petrova, M., Kyoung Lee, T., Sardinas, K. M., Kobayashi, M. A., Messiah, S. E., & Prado, G. (2018). Predictors of participant attendance patterns in a family-based intervention for overweight and obese Hispanic adolescents. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071482

This study is ineligible for review because it is not a study of the program or service under review (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.6).