Assessing Multicultural Parenting Values and Practices in Prevention Programs for Latino Youth


  • Ghaffar Ali Hurtado University of Maryland School of Public Health
  • Julie M. Fife University of Maryland School of Public Health
  • Maria V. Svetaz Hennepin County Medical Center
  • Michele L. Allen University of Minnesota Family Medicine and Community Health



immigrant families, Latino, adolescent health, parenting, prevention


As communities become increasingly diverse, it is important to consider how cultural navigation interacts with adolescent development. We examined immigrant parenting values and practices to promote healthy development when developing Padres Informados/Jóvenes Preparados (Padres). Three focus groups were conducted with Latino immigrant parents (n = 27). Parents strove to foster a strong Latino identity to protect their children from detrimental preconceived notions about Latinos in the broader American culture. They conveyed a Latino identity by speaking Spanish and teaching the values of respect and familism. Parents expressed tremendous stress in parenting while navigating difficult policies, socioeconomic conditions, and unfamiliar systems. They actively sought practices to protect their children. Parents also held misconceptions about cultural influences and normative development. These findings provided cultural grounding for Padres, which demonstrated success in improving youth–parent relationships. Family-focused programs serving Latino youth need to consider strengthening cultural identity to improve youth–parent relationships and promote optimal development.

Author Biographies

Ghaffar Ali Hurtado, University of Maryland School of Public Health


Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist

Julie M. Fife, University of Maryland School of Public Health

M.P.H. School of Public Health

Maria V. Svetaz, Hennepin County Medical Center


Michele L. Allen, University of Minnesota Family Medicine and Community Health

M.D., M.S.


Allen, M. L., Svetaz, M. V., Hurtado, G. A., Linares, R., Garcia-Huidobro, D., & Hurtado, M. (2013a). The developmental stages of a community–university partnership: The experience of Padres Informados/Jovenes Preparados. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 7(3), 271-279.

Allen, M. L., Hurtado, G. A., Yon, K. J., Okuyemi, K. S., Davey, C. S., Marczak, M. S., . . . Svetaz, V. M. (2013b). Feasibility of a parenting program to prevent substance use among Latino youth: A community-based participatory research study. Health Promotion, 27(4), 240-244.

Allen, M. L., Garcia-Huidobro, D., Hurtado, G. A., Allen, R., Davey, C. S., Forster, J. L., . . . Reynoso, U. (2012). Immigrant family skills-building to prevent tobacco use in Latino youth: Study protocol for a community-based participatory randomized controlled trial. Trials, 13(1), 242.

Bacallao, M. L., & Smokowski, P. R. (2007). The costs of getting ahead: Mexican family system changes after immigration. Family Relations, 56(1), 52-66.

Berry, J. W. (1997). Immigration, acculturation, and adaptation. Applied psychology, 46(1), 5-34.

Campos, B., Schetter, C. D., Abdou, C. M., Hobel, C., Glynn, L., Sandman, C. (2008). Familialism, social support, and stress: Positive implications for pregnant Latinas. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 14(2), 155–162.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Quickstats: Birth rates for females aged15-19 years, by race/ethnicity-National Vital Statistics System. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Retrieved from

Coleman, P. K., & Karraker, K. H. (1998). Self-efficacy and parenting quality: Findings and future applications. Developmental Review, 18(1), 47-85. doi: 10.1006/drev.1997.0448

Chun, K. M., & Akutsu, P. D. (2003). Acculturation among ethnic minority families. In K. M. Chun, P. Balls Organista, & G. Marín (Eds.), Acculturation: Advances in theory, measurement, and applied research (pp. 95-119). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. doi: 10.1037/10472-008

Domènech Rodriguez, M. M., Donovick, M. R., & Crowley, S. L. (2009). Parenting styles in a cultural context: Observations of “protective parenting” in first‐generation Latinos. Family Process, 48(2), 195-210.

Dumka, L. E., Roosa, M. W., Michaels, M. L., & Suh, K. W. (1995). Using research and theory to develop prevention programs for high risk families. Family Relations, 44(1), 78-86.

El-Toukhy, S., Sabado, M., &Choi, K. (2016). Trends in susceptibility to smoking by race andethnicity. Pediatrics, 138(5), e20161254.

Flores, A. (2017). How the U.S. Hispanic Population is Changing. Retrieved from Pew Research Center website:

Fry, R., & Passel, J. S. (2009). Latino children: A majority are US-born offspring of immigrants. Retrieved from Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends website:

Israel, B. A., Eng, E., Schulz, A., & Parker, E. A. (2005). Introduction to methods for CBPR for health: Methods in community-based participatory research for health. San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Johnston, L. D., O'Malley, P. M., & Bachman, J. G. (2001). The monitoring the future national survey results on adolescent drug use: Overview of key findings, 2000. Rockville, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Kumpfer, K. L., & Alvarado, R. (2003). Family-strengthening approaches for the prevention of youth problem behaviors. American Psychologist, 56(6-7), 457-465.Martinez, C. R. (2006). Effects of differential family acculturation on Latino adolescent substance use. Family Relations, 55(3), 306-317.

Martinez, C. R. (2006). Effects of differential family acculturation on Latino adolescent substance use. Family Relations, 55(3), 306-317.

Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Fryar, C. D., & Flegal, K. M. (2015). Prevalence of obesity among adults and youth: United States 2011-2014 [NCHS data brief, no 219]. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.

Portes, A., & Rumbaut, R. G. ( 2001). Legacies: The story of the immigrant second generation. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Resnick, M. D., Bearman, P. S., Blum, R. W., Bauman, K. E., Harris, K. M., Jones, J… Udry, J. R. (1997). Protecting adolescents from harm. Findings from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278(10), 823-832.

Romero, A., Robinson, T., Haydel, K. F., Mendoza, F., & Killen, J. (2004). Associations among familism, language preference, and education in Mexican-American mothers and their children. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 25(1), 34-40. doi:10.1097/00004703-200402000-00006

Romero, A. J., Martinez, D., & Carvajal, S. C. (2007). Bicultural stress and adolescent risk behaviors in a community sample of Latinos and non-Latino European Americans. Ethnicity and Health, 12(5), 443-463.

Saldaña, J. (2012). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Shakib, S., Mouttapa, M., Johnson, C. A., Ritt-Olson, A., Trimidad, D. R., Gallaher, P. E., & Unger, J. B. (2003). Ethnic variation in parenting characteristics and adolescent smoking. Journal of Adolescent Health, 33(2), 88-97.

Smokowski, P. R., & Bacallao, M. L. (2007). Acculturation, internalizing mental health symptoms, and self-esteem: Cultural experiences of Latino adolescents in North Carolina. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 37(3), 273-292.

Szapocznik, J., & Coatsworth, J. D. (1999). An ecodevelopmental framework for organizing theinfluences on drug abuse: A developmental model of risk and protection. In M. D. Glantz & C.R. Hartel (Eds.), Drug abuse: Origins & interventions (pp. 331-366). Washington, DC:American Psychological Association.

United Nations, Department of Economic & Social Affairs. (2013). The number of international migrants worldwide reaches 232 million. Retrieved from

Wallerstein, N., & Duran, B. (2010). Community-based participatory research contributions to intervention research: The intersection of science and practice to improve health equity. American Journal of Public Health, 100(S1), S40-S46.

White, R. M. B., Roosa, M. W., Weaver, S. R., & Nair, R. L. (2009). Cultural and contextual influences on parenting in Mexican American families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71(1), 61-79. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00580.x