Indigenous Cultural Engagement As a Means of Strengthening Urban American Indian Families: Results of the Parenting in 2 Worlds Study

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal 4C G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Stephen KULIS, Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center, Arizona State University, USA
Monica TSETHLIKAI, T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University, USA
Maintaining and re-engaging with traditional cultural heritage is increasingly recognized as a potent factor in improving the wellbeing of indigenous communities in many regions. For the growing majority of American Indians (AIs) who live in cities in the USA rather than reservations (70%), culturally appropriate evidence-based prevention programs are often unavailable. This presentation discusses the culturally grounded parenting intervention, Parenting in 2 Worlds (P2W), created to strengthen protective factors among urban AI families and reduce health risk behaviors. Employing community-based participatory research in three urban AI communities with diverse tribal backgrounds, a multi-stage cultural program adaptation process uncovered and systematically incorporated common AI cultural values and practices relating to parenting into the P2W curriculum.

Data come from 575 parents of AI children in three Arizona cities in a randomized controlled trial of P2W.  Parents were recruited through urban Indian centers and randomly assigned to P2W or an informational health curriculum, Healthy Families in 2 Worlds (HF2W).  Parents completed self-administered questionnaires at the first workshop and a post-test at the last workshop. Tests of the efficacy of P2W versus HF2W were conducted through baseline adjusted regression models in Mplus using full information maximum likelihood estimation to adjust for attrition, and controlling for program dosage (# workshops attended). Parents in P2W reported significantly more desirable changes in outcomes than parents in HF2W on measures of parental self-agency, positive parenting practices, communication with their children about safe sex, child’s discipline problems, parental substance use, AI ethnic identity, AI cultural practices, and successful biculturalism.

In addition to desired effects on parenting skills and family functioning, P2W resulted in significant improvements on several measures of the parents’ attachment to their AI cultural heritage. Culturally adapted parenting interventions like P2W can effectively build on indigenous cultural heritage to promote wellbeing of AI parents and their children.