Using a Community Based Participatory Approach to Develop Parent Education for Parents of LatinX Youth

Figure 1 Photo by RDNE Stock project: CC0
Figure 1 Photo by RDNE Stock project: CC0

Submitted by: Mackenzie Wheelock


Researchers developed a curriculum to help parents and adolescents resist drugs and address risky behavior.
A Community Based Participatory Approach accounted for multiple factors including the individuals, their environment, culture, and societal expectations.

Preventing risky sexual behavior and substance use in youth is challenging, particularly when the population is already experiencing health disparities and higher drug risks. The research team used a Community Based Participatory Approach (CBPR) to develop a parent education curriculum aimed at preventing and decreasing adolescent drug use and risky sexual behaviors among LatinX adolescents from the Southwestern United States. The curriculum development processes led to the establishment and application of evidence-based principles for the prevention program. Using a “top-down” approach, developers applied theory and academic knowledge from other research studies. The curriculum development process also utilized a “bottom-up” approach, by eliciting and incorporating important information and ideas as voiced by the parents themselves.

“The parent curriculum was culturally appropriate and sensitive to the needs and wants of parents from the local community.”

The curriculum consisted of 7 different workshops aiming emphasizing participant needs, socioeconomic status, and cultural contexts. For example, researchers investigated the process LatinX youth and their parents undergo when adapting to “mainstream” culture at differing paces and how that can influence their sexual health and drug risks.


The research team used focus groups and key informant interviews to gather information on community needs/concerns. The focus groups included parents, teachers, and school staff who have expressed concern about the high rates of drug abuse and risky behaviors in their communities. Measures were taken to ensure participation comfort and engagement, such as offering language adaptations, well-furnished meeting rooms, options for child care, and providing food. Three methods used to review the results and qualitative data for each focus group: 1) Grounded Theory; 2) Triadic Coding Scheme; and 3) Constant Comparative Method. Two team members identified emerging themes, which were then compared to known concepts in the field.

How Did A Community Psychology Perspective Inform Your Work?

Community Psychology emphasizes the relationship between people, communities, and societies. This work analyzed how the interactions of multiple factors (including internal and external) impact an adolescents’ behavior.


  • This work identified obstacles to the empowerment of LatinX adolescents. The curriculum focused on removing conflict, in this case, risky sexual behavior and drug abuse.
  • This research prompted the development of measures to lower the incidence of drug abuse and risky sexual behavior, leading to healthier behaviors and habits of these impacted adolescents.
  • Parent participation in the education system is needed and should be encouraged.
  • Curricula engaging the support from a youth’s family and school system can provide an opportunity for adolescents to engage in healthier practices.

What Does This Mean For?

Research and Evaluation: Further research can establish the effectiveness of this curriculum and whether it can be successfully replicated in other communities and cultures.

Practice: Community Psychologists can work with non-profits and/or government agencies and local communities to implement the curriculum. Implementation of this curriculum may help adolescents make better decisions and avoid drug use/abuse and risky sexual behavior.

Original Citation: Parsai, M. B., Castro, F. G., Marsiglia, F. F., Harthun, M. L., & Valdez, H. (2010). Using community-based participatory research to create a culturally grounded intervention for parents and youth to prevent risky behaviors. Society for Prevention Research, 34-47. 

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