thomas 2017 fostering activation.pdf
Objective: Latino families raising children with mental health needs report greater dissatisfaction with care compared with other families. Activation is a promising strategy to eliminate disparities. This study examined the comparative effectiveness of MePrEPA, an activation intervention for Latino parents whose children receive mental health services.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial (N=172) was conducted in a Spanish-language mental health clinic to assess the effectiveness of MePrEPA, a four-week group psychoeducational intervention to enhance parent activation among Latino parents. Inclusion criteria were raising a child who receives services for mental health needs and ability to attend weekly sessions. Outcomes were parent activation, education activation, quality of school interaction, and parent mental health. Effectiveness of the intervention was tested with a difference-in-difference approach for estimating linear mixed models. Heterogeneity of treatment effect was examined.
Results: MePrEPA enhanced parent activation (ß=5.98, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.42–10.53), education activation (ß=7.98, CI=3.01–12.94), and quality of school interaction (ß=1.83, CI=.14–3.52) to a greater degree than did a parent-support control group. The intervention’s impact on parent activation and education outcomes was greater for participants whose children were covered by Medicaid and were novices to therapy and those with low activation at baseline. No statistically significant effects were observed in parent mental health.
Conclusions: Activation among Latino parents was improved with MePrEPA, which can be readily incorporated in current practices by mental health clinics. Future work should replicate findings in a large number of sites, adding behavioral measures and distal impacts while examining MePrEPA’s effects across settings and populations.