The Strong African American Families (SAAF) prevention program reduces depressive symptoms related to racial discrimination in Black adolescents, results of a post hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial show.
SAAF is a 7-week family skills training program delivered at local community centers that targets effective parenting behavior, adolescent self-regulation, and Black pride.
In the original trial, 472 Black children aged 11 to 12 years were randomly allocated to SAAF or no treatment control.
The post hoc analysis investigated changes in adolescent-reported depressive symptoms from age 13 to 14 years using the 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale for Children.
Exposure to racial discrimination at age 13 years correlated with increased depressive symptoms at age 14 years (P
Participation in the SAAF program significantly attenuated the association of racial discrimination at age 13 with increases in depressive symptoms at age 14 (P = .01).
Racial discrimination was significantly associated with increases in depressive symptoms in the control group (P
This moderating effect was observed using intent-to-treat design; the investigators accounted for family socioeconomic disadvantage and youth gender.
The findings add to other evidence suggesting that “prevention programs targeting aspects of racial identity, racial socialization processes, and parenting behavior may, to some extent, mitigate the mental health effects associated with racial discrimination. These processes appear to increase positive coping in the aftermath of discrimination, and prevent adolescents internalization of toxic messages regarding racial inferiority,” the authors write.
The study, with first author Steven Kogan, PhD, University of Georgia in Athens, was published online November 1 in JAMA Network Open with a commentary by Kevin Simon, MD, MPH, with Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts.
This was a post hoc analysis of trial data. The sample consisted of Black adolescents from rural areas of Georgia, and the results may not be generalizable to Black adolescents from urban areas or adolescents from other racial groups. Because of the study’s focus on individual-level racial discrimination, the potential for SAAF to buffer the effects of structural and institutional forms of racism is unknown.
The study had no specific funding. The authors have disclosed no relevant conflicts of interest.
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Publish date : 2023-11-13 18:53:53
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