The Strengthening Hawaiian Families Program
Lana, a Hawaiian single mother, signed
up for the Strengthening Hawaii's Families Program at her
school. She was concerned that her three elementary school
children were becoming too aggressive like the dad, she
divorced because of physically abusive behaviors towards
her and them. The program increased her confidence as a
parent and reduced the kids acting out and defiance. As
a family, they enjoyed the luau and the graduation party
on the beach.
The Coalition for Drug-free Hawaii has
revised the SFP to be more culturally appropriate for Hawaiian
Asian/ Pacific Islanders. The Strengthening Hawaii Families
(SHF) Program has a 20-session curriculum which emphasizes
awareness of family values, family relationships, and communication
skills. A 10 session family and parenting values curriculum
precedes the 10 session SFP family management curriculum
to increase parental readiness for change. The revised curriculum
covers topics such as connecting with one another, caring
words, generational continuity, culture, communication,
honesty, choice, trust, anger, problem-solving, decision-making,
and stress management. An audio and video tape accompany
the new curriculum manuals.
An independent evaluation was conducted
by a researcher at the University of Hawaii (Kameoka, 1996).
The original 14-session SFP was implemented in four sites,
mainly schools and community centers. It was compared to
the 20-session, culturally-revised SHF program implemented
in nine sites. The measurement battery was culturally modified
by altering words and expressions not common in Hawaii and
included several different assessment instruments.
attrition was high with only 48% completing most of the
session. Of course, the program was much longer now with
20 session. Attendance was also low. The change to a more
values-based curriculum versus a social learning/social
skills theory-based family skill training curriculum appeared
to have weakened the attendance, and the program effectiveness.
This program was interpreted by the evaluator as an educational
program designed for non-clinical populations. Participants
receiving professional services were eliminated from the
data analysis, yet they may have benefitted the most.
Both the original SFP program and newly,
revised, culturally-tailored Strengthening Hawaii's Families
(SHF) programs attained the goal of strengthening family
relationships and resulted in significant improvements in
family conflict, family cohesion, and family organization.
Only the original SFP resulted in statistically significant
improvements in attitudes and skills in rewarding positive
behaviors, reduced physical punishment, and parental depression
compared to the culturally-modified SHF. The original SFP
was also more effective in reducing the children's, hostility,
depression, anxiety, somatization, interpersonal problems,
phobias, and paranoia. The SHF program impacted only hostility
and paranoia in addition to depression. Substance use decreased
in SFP participants for parent, sibling and child use, but
increased significantly for SHF in child use and non-significantly
for parent use.
Why the original SFP was more effective
than the culturally-tailored SHF is not clear. Possibly,
the shift from a behavioral to values-based program decreased
emphasis on behavior change. In addition, four sessions
were eliminated from the 14 original sessions. Having the
families focus on family values for 10 session prior to
the behavioral parent training, may have not appealed to
the parents. They are already convinced that families are
important as evinced by their signing up for the program.
Mainly they are wanting to learn new skills and had to wait
ten weeks for this parent training. The cultural modifications
are, of course, very useful in recruiting and maintaining
families. Based on these results, the program developers
in Hawaii have modified their SHF program to be more similar
in length and content to the original SFP.
Kameoke, V.A. (1996). The effects of a family-focused intervention
on reducing risk for substance abuse among Asian and Pacific-Island
youths and families: Evaluation of the strengthening Hawaii's
families project. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, Social
Welfare Evaluation and Research Unit.
Kameoka, V.A., & Lecar, S. (1996). The effects of a
family-focused intervention on reducing risk for substance
abuse among asian and pacific-island youths and families:
Evaluation of the strengthening Hawaii’s families
project. Available from the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii,
University of Hawaii.
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