Initial engagement in parent-centered preventive interventions: A family systems perspective

Tatiana Perrino, J. Douglas Coatsworth, Ervin Briones, Hilda Pantin, José Szapocznik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


This article examines factors predicting participant engagement in a parent-centered, substance abuse preventive intervention. One hundred forty-three families assigned to the experimental condition were identified as either "initially engaged" (having attended at least one of the first three sessions) or "not initially engaged." The groups were compared on demographics, family need for the intervention, barriers to participation, and family systems level variables. Results from hierarchical logistic regression analyses indicate that caregiver need for the intervention and family systems variables significantly predicted initial engagement in the intervention, while demographic variables, stressful life circumstances, and family stress failed to significantly influence engagement. Family systems variables were the strongest predictors of engagement within the full model. Furthermore, ethnic and racial background significantly moderated the effects of family systems variables on engagement in the intervention. For instance, African American families with low levels of family organization were less likely to be engaged than those with high levels of organization. This effect was not as strong for Hispanic caregivers. Implications for recruitment and engagement strategies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-44
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Primary Prevention
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Adolescence
  • Engagement in preventive program
  • Family systems
  • Parent-centered intervention
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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