WORKING WITH SINGLE PARENT FAMILIES: REFLECTIONS ON THE TRANSPORTABILITY OF A PREVENTATIVE INTERVENTION PROGRAMME FROM USA TO AUSTRALIA
Pike, L.T., Edith Cowan University, Australia and Barber, B., The University of Arizona, USA
Recently, a number of family processes have received attention as mediators of divorce effects on adolescent adjustment. However, the extent to which intervention programs are guided by these findings from research on mediating processes is limited. This paper presents an overview of the implementation and evaluation in Australia of the Families and Successful Teens (FAST) program. The program was developed in the United States in 1992 and has been successfully implemented there with single parent families. The program is a research-based preventative intervention program designed to increase effective functioning of single parent families and reduce the prevalence of maladjustment in adolescents in those families. The program involves two groups running simultaneously (one for mothers and one for adolescents) for seven weeks. This paper describes issues of implementation in Australia, compared to the US, including challenges of recruiting adolescents and their mothers, and innovations effective in keeping early adolescents engaged in program activities. In addition to considering the stages of implementation from feasibility study to efficacy evaluation, we will present evaluation results from three pilot groups. We will consider the following questions: 1) Does the intervention program have an impact on family functioning in the four domains it targets as proximal outcomes (decision-making, discipline, expectations, and relationships)? Are some of these domains affected more strongly? 2) Are there changes in adjustment in the adolescents in the four domains examined (academic competence, self-processes, externalizing, and internalizing)? 3) What are effective methods of measuring program dosage and implementation/adherence? Similarities and differences in US and Australian pre- and post-test evaluation results are described.