Change in caregiver depression as a function of the Strong African American Families Program.

Abstract

A randomized prevention trial contrasted families who participated in the Strong African American Families Program (SAAF), a preventive intervention for rural African American parents and their 11-year-olds, with control families. This article focuses on the program's effect on primary caregivers' depressive symptoms. Among the 167 caregivers with elevated scores on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale, SAAF participation was associated with reduced depressive symptoms, enhanced parenting, and perceived improvements in youth behavior. Change in parenting (consistent discipline, youth monitoring, and open communication) but not change in youth intrapersonal competencies significantly mediated intervention effects on caregivers' depression. Results support the link between reduced depressive symptoms and stronger family relationships, particularly the importance of enhanced parenting efficacy in alleviating depressive symptoms.

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