Preventing Substance Abuse in Hispanic Immigrant Adolescents: An Ecodevelopmental, Parent-Centered Approach

Hilda Pantin, Seth J. Schwartz, Summer Sullivan, J. Douglas Coatsworth, José Szapocznik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


This article discusses the challenges that Hispanic immigrant families face and reviews the potential negative consequences of these challenges for Hispanic adolescents. The article outlines the theoretical background, goals, and intervention components of Familias Unidas, a substance-abuse-prevention program for poor immigrant Hispanic adolescents and their parents. Familias Unidas is an ecodevelopmentally based, parentcentered intervention delivered by way of parent participatory-learning groups, parent-adolescent discussion circles, and periodic home visits. Through participation in Familias Unidas, parents acquire skills for communicating with and supporting their adolescents, managing adolescent behavior problems, and becoming actively involved in their adolescents ' social and academic lives, all of which are protective against substance abuse. This article delineates the key intervention principles of Familias Unidas that increase parental involvement and collaboration within the adolescents' family, school, and peer worlds and, as a result, improve adolescents' functioning in these areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-500
Number of pages32
JournalHispanic journal of behavioral sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Adolescent
  • Family
  • Hispanic
  • Immigrant
  • Prevention
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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