This study examined how participation in a universal family skills-building program may interact with community risks and resources to produce youth outcomes. Prior research has noted community-level variability in risk and protective factors, but thus far no study has examined the role that participation on a community-wide intervention may play in moderating the effects of community risks or resources. The study included 14 communities (seven in Iowa, seven in Pennsylvania) that implemented a family focused evidence-based program as part of the PROSPER project. Community level variables included both risk factors (percent of low income families, the availability of alcohol and tobacco, norms regarding adolescent substance use, incidence of drug-related crimes) and community resources (proactive school leadership, availability of youth-serving organizations, and student involvement in youth activities). The proximal youth and family outcomes included youth perceptions of their parents' management skills, parent-child activities, and family cohesion. Results indicated that the Strengthening Families Program:10-14 may have moderated the impact of the community risks and resources on community-level youth outcomes; risk levels meaningfully associated with community-level change in program participants, though these results varied somewhat by outcome. Generally, higher levels of resources also meaningfully associated with more positive change after participating in the family-focused intervention. These results suggest that the effect of some evidence-based programs may be even stronger in some communities than others; more research in this area is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-19
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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