Fostering resilience in African
American youth: The Black
Parenting Strengths and Strategies
(BPSS) Program
Stephanie I. Coard, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Human Development and Family Studies, UNCG
Paper presented at the 3rd Annual African American Male Conference:
Focus on the Black Families
Raleigh, NC ~ March 21, 2008
Purpose
The translation, implementation and testing of
clinically efficacious interventions into community
settings
Specifically,
Culturally adapting and testing those interventions
to ensure successful dissemination within urban
and inner-city communities with economically
disadvantaged African American families
Specific Goals:
1. Gain knowledge of resilience and cultural
competence and cultural relevancy and its importance
in prevention programming.
2. Gain knowledge of racial socialization as a key
culturally-based theoretical model for understanding
African American families and developing programs
targeting them.
3. Learn how to bridge culturally-specific
content/processes with generic evidenced-based
practices to optimize program efficacy and
effectiveness.
Mission
The prevention and treatment of child mental health
problems and the promotion of emotional and behavioral
health –with particular emphasis on Black/African American
children, adolescents and their families.
What does that mean?…
1.
Remaining at the forefront of research in prevention
and comprehensive treatments for/with African
American youth and facilitating awareness of the
importance of examining and understanding the role of
race, ethnicity and culture in the conduct of research.

Elucidating roles of race/ethnicity in development

These factors contribute to the complexities of
psychological processes, and are of vital
importance to the understanding of culturally
diverse populations.
2. Integrate existing and new knowledge on culture,
ethnicity and race with intervention efforts aimed at
preventing and treating child mental health problems
and fostering competence and well being.

As evidenced-based interventions are applied to
children within diverse families, schools and
communities, the understanding of culture and how
specific culture-related factors influence
implementation, acceptance and outcome become
paramount.
Outline
Research Overview
 Rationale and limitations
 Resilience
 Cultural Competency
Racial Socialization Overview
 Definition and Importance
Intervention Development Phases
 Cultural adaptation process
 Intervention components
Pilot Findings
Conclusions and Future Directions
Conceptualizing Resilience
Most theorists and researchers have recognized
resilience as a dynamic process (Luthar, Doyle,
Suchman, & Mayes, 2000; Rutter, 1985; Spencer et
al., 2006)
Encompassing positive individual adaptation within
the context of significant adversity and resources
(Luthar et al., 2000; Luthar et al., 2001).
Spencer et al. (2006) have explained that resilience
requires a multifaceted, context-linked, and systemsoriented human development perspective for
maximum understanding.
Conceptualizing Resilience, Cont’d
A dynamic, multidimensional construct
that incorporates the bidirectional
interaction between individuals and their
environments within contexts (family,
peer, school and community, and
society) – RSBCA, 2007
A fluid process not easily captured in a
list of protective factors (RSBCA, 2007)
Resilience: How it Functions
In addition to questions about the
definition of resilience, there are also
questions about how it functions.
Resilience as domain specific
Luthar et al. (2000) have construed resilience as
domain-specific.
Example: If children living in an underresourced
neighborhood have been able to avoid using drugs,
one might consider these children resilient. However,
were these children resilient if they underachieved in
school? Are there gradients or specific types of
resilience? Might it be possible that these children
were “drug resilient” but maybe not “school resilient”?
The possibility of domain-specific resilience has
implications for both basic and applied research
(Ahern, 2006; Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005; Luthar et
al., 2000; Spencer et al., 2006; Tusaie & Dyer, 2004;
Winfield, 1994).
Limitations of Resilience Research
Atheoretical and does not benefit from systematic theory development
and testing.
The lack of clear theoretical grounding contributes to the confusion in
terms of the conceptualization, operationalization, and measurement of
resilience and limits our ability to make meaningful comparisons of
results across studies.
Previous research on resilience has not included cultural or racerelated factors in its examination of how children exposed to stressful
situational and life events display adaptive behavior.
Few studies have considered cultural factors as meaningful
components in the process of resilience. There have been, however,
some notable exceptions to these general trends (Garmezy, 1996;
Sandler, 2001; Spencer et al., 2006)
Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST)
(Spencer et al., 2006) is one of the only efforts to explicitly consider
race/ethnicity and cultural experiences of African American youth
Portrait of Resilience
The optimal functioning portrait of resilience for
African American youth calls for youth to have
emotional awareness, perspective-taking, and
emotional regulation skills. (RBCA, 2007)
The development of programs that focus on
critical consciousness as related to emotional
regulation is necessary, along with prevention
programs that foster and promote engagement,
and also programs that take into account the
communal nature of African Americans (RSBCA,
2007)
What is Cultural Competency?
The acceptance and respect for
difference, continuing self-assessment
regarding culture, attention to the
dynamics of difference, ongoing
development of cultural knowledge and
resources, and flexibility within service
models to work towards better meeting
the of needs of racial/ethnic
populations. (Coard, 1999)
Elements of Cultural Competence
(Coard, 1999)
1. Requires a commitment
Believing that all cultures are equal with and none are inherently
superior to others.
2. Acknowledge and value diversity
Recognizing that cultural differences are real and play a major
part in the care of individuals and families.
3. Develop cultural awareness
An awareness of one’s culture and how it shapes beliefs and
behaviors. and understand the dynamics of difference.
Elements of Cultural Competence cont’d
4. Recognize and understand the dynamics of
difference



subtle and overt differences
interaction patterns
influence of past experiences with racism, stereotyping on
level of trust, etc.
5. Acquire Cultural knowledge
General knowledge about cultural groups is good but
individualization is critical
6. Adapt to Diversity
Adapt practice behaviors to meet needs of individuals/families.
Adapting to Diversity
• Program marketing
• Program content
• Program delivery
• Program evaluation
Marketing
•
•
•
•
Meals
Transportation
Childcare
Local community
involvement
–
–
–
•
use of focus groups
advisory boards
interviews
Advertising
simplifications
-
educational level
• Inclusion of cultural
experts
• Strong community
partnerships and
presence
• Labeling considerations
- program title
- program goals
- participants
Content
• Language translations
• Inclusion of people of
color in manuals and
videotapes
• Translation versions
• Language expression
and common language
• Race related factors
(e.g. oppression,
racism, prejudice)
• Ethnic/racial
development
• Culturally defined
parental norms
Delivery
• Use of a collaborative
approach
• Diverse or racial/ethnic
matching participants
w/staff
• Use of community
members as “aids”
• Cultural specific delivery
strategies
– (e.g., common
language, Proverbs,
affirmations,
storytelling; emphasis
on cultural values)
• Community member
“aids”
– cultural value and
model incongruence
Evaluation
instruments
translated in
different languages
• Empirical validity for
children of color
• Behavioral observations
– racial bias
– culture/learning style
• Behavioral assessments
– Extended family/kinship
networks
– spirituality
INTERVENTION DEVELOPMENT
AND
ADAPTATION
K01 Award:
Cultural Strategies for Preventing Conduct Problems
Pursue research on translation, implementation and
testing of clinically efficacious interventions into
community settings; and in culturally adapting and
testing those interventions to ensure successful
dissemination within urban and inner-city
communities.
A primary focus of this research has been the
development and testing of culturally-relevant
strategies to assist African American parents in
preventing and managing common behavioral
problems in children.
Funded by National Institute of Mental Health
K01 MH-01881-01
2000-2005
Limitations of Parent Training Interventions
Increase in contextually focused evidenced-based preventive
intervention, BUT…

Focus on “surface” modifications rather than the consideration of
“deeper” structural cultural adaptations.

Consideration to critical values and traditions of a particular ethnic
group, the unique historical, present, and future conditions of the
group have largely been ignored.

Do not consider the unique parental challenges that African
American families experience and unique parenting practices that
are culturally, ethnically, racially-based, valued and influenced by the
societal realities that exist (e.g., racism, prejudice, discrimination).
Racial Socialization Defined
The process by which messages are
transmitted inter- and intragenerationally regarding the
significance and meaning of race
and ethnicity.
Involves teaching children values
and norms associated with
race/ethnicity, and problem-solving
skills that enable children to be
flexible in their approach to racerelated situations, without losing a
core sense of self.
Coard, S. & Sellers, R. African American families as a context for racial socialization. (2005) In V. McLoyd, N. Hill and K. Dodge, (eds.) Emerging
Issues In African-American Family Life: Context, Adaptation, and Policy. New York: Guildford Press.
Stevenson, H., Winn, D.M., Walker-Barnes, C. & Coard, S. Style Matters: Towards a culturally relevant framework for interventions with African
American families (2005) In V. McLoyd, N. Hill and K. Dodge, (eds.) Emerging Issues In African-American Family Life: Context, Adaptation, and
Policy. New York: Guildford Press.
Complexities of Racial
Socialization
Synergistic and dynamic
Bi-directional process
Deliberate and unintended
Transmission and reception
Moderated by family and ecological
characteristics
Racial Socialization and Child
Outcomes: Empirical Findings
Racial Competence
Academic Achievement
Self-Efficacy
Self-Esteem
Behavioral Competence
Delinquency
Drug Abuse
Why is Racial Socialization Important?
It influences a children’s beliefs about
the way the world works.
It informs children’s beliefs and
attitudes regarding ‘the self’.
It helps shape children’s repertoire of
strategies and skills for coping with
and navigating racism.
It impacts the nature of the child’s’
inter- and intra-racial relationships and
interactions.
Who am I Targeting?
A quest to define Blackness
Race and/or Ethnicity
Black and/or African American
Biracial
Multiracial
Race of parent and/or race of
child
Race of grandparent and/or
race of parent and/or child
And the answer is…
Barbershops/hairdressers
Nail salons
Resource/drop in centers
Schools (drop off/dismissal)
Housing projects
Playgrounds/Parks
Block Parties/Festivals
Restaurants/Take-outs
Community Centers
YMCA
Churches/mosques
DMV
Street vendors
Caretakers/nannies
Intervention Development Phases
1. Qualitative Study: Further elaborate the key aspects of racial
socialization through qualitative methods and review of historical,
sociological, and psychological literatures.
2. Program Adaptation: Develop an intervention for African American
parents of 5 – 7 year old socio-economically disadvantaged children
that encourages parents use of racial socialization practices.
3. Assessment Battery: Develop an assessment battery that is
sensitive to changes in racial socialization practices and related
constructs.
4. Open Pilot : Pilot the racial socialization intervention as an adjunct to
a standard parent training intervention.
5. Randomized Controlled Pilot: Test the enhanced parent training
intervention in a randomized controlled trial (waitlist control).
Model of Racial Socialization
Processes (Coard, 2003)
Frequency of Message
Frequently Used
Routine aspect of parenting
Moderated by family characteristics
Content of Messages
Racial
Socialization
Racial Preparation (83%)
Racial Pride (93%)
Racial Equality (86%)
Racial Achievement (67%)
Mode/Delivery of Messages
Active
Responsive
Passive
Coard, S. & Wallace, S., & Stevenson, H. & Miller Brotman, L. (2004). Towards culturally competent preventive interventions: The
consideration of racial socialization in parent training with African American families. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 13 (3), 277-293.
Other Culturally-Specific Considerations*
Content:
Black child development
Using proactive racial
socialization strategies
Talking to your child about race
Knowledge of African American
history
Encouraging culturally affirming
attitudes and behaviors
Coping with race-related
conflicts
Race-related advocacy in
school settings
*informed by qualitative findings and
existing literature
Delivery Strategies:
Use of AA language expression,
common language
Physical expression
Emphasize AA values about
collective responsibility, cooperation
and interdependence.
Use of African proverbs,
sayings/affirmations, poems, quotes,
symbols, pledges
African American perspective use of
(“we”)
Prayer
Role-playing
Storytelling/testimonies
Extended family participation
Humor
Setting/Motif- representative of
population (e.g., books, magazines,
pictures)
Culturally Enhanced Version:
Black Parenting Strengths and Strategies (BPSS)
Program Overview:
A culturally- and strengths-based
parenting program for the
prevention of conduct problems of
young children grades K-2.
Weekly session (12 weeks)
Two hour sessions
Meals and childcare/tutoring
Program goals:




So we can….

Ticket system
•
Attendance (on time)
•
Homework completion
•
Binder
STRENGTHEN parenting skills
IMPROVE parental involvement
EMPOWER parents to advocate
and access
GUIDE parents in preparing
African-American children for
success




INCREASE positive behaviors in
children
DEVELOP self-image and selfesteem
BUILD their confidence in school
PROMOTE positive racial
discussions
ENHANCE problem-solving skills
Parenting the Strong-Willed Child
(Long & Forehand, 2002)
Evidence-based behavioral parent training program,
recognized for its general effectiveness.
Designed to improve the parent-child relationship and
increase desirable child behaviors.
Teaches skills that assist parents in dealing with and
preventing noncompliance and other problematic
behavior.
Skills: Attending, Rewards, Ignoring, Effective directions,
Time Out
BPSS Parent Group Sessions: 1- 6
1 Welcome and Introduction
Parenting in Context: Yourselves as Black Parents
Self –Reflection
2 Black Discipline: Stickin’ To, Watchin’ Over and Gettin’ With*
Affection, Protection and Correction
3 Young Children and Racial-Ethnic Matters
Racial/Ethnic Development and Competence
Racial Socialization: Talking about Race
4 Understanding Child Behavior and Identifying Behavior Problems
Attending
5 Creating a Positive Homeplace** and Homespace***
Spirituality and Family Traditions
Rewards
6 Improving Communication Skills
Ignoring
*Based on Stevenson, Davis & Abdul-Kabir (2001)
**Term conceived by L. Burton
*** Term conceived by J.V. Ward
BPSS Parent Group Sessions: 7 - 12
7
Building Positive Self-Esteem and Self-Image
Effective Directions
8
Developing More Patience and Respect
Time-Out
9
Black Children and the School Experience
Racial Achievement
10 Teaching Children to Problem Solve
Chit chats and Race–Related Problem Solving
11 Integrating Parenting/Behavior Change Skills
Addressing Specific Behavior Problems
12 Advocating for Your Child
Addressing specific race/ethnic matters (at home and in the
community)
13 Graduation Ceremony
Child Domains and Measures
Child Behavior Problems
Child Social Competence

Behavioral Assessment System
for Children (BASC- P/T)

Behavioral Assessment System
for Children (BASC- P/T)
Social Skills Rating
Scale(SSRS-P/T)

Child Racial Competence
 Attitudes
 Coping
 Racial Preference

Preschool Racial Attitude
Measure(PRAM)
Racial Stories Task II

Color of My Skin

Parent Domains and Measures
Parenting Practices



Parent Racial Socialization


Parent Racial Identity
Parent Functioning
Parent Practice Interview (PPI)
Involve Parent Questionnaire (IPQ)
Parent Experience of Racial
Socialization (PERS)
Parent-Child Race-related
Observational Measure (PC-ROM)
Afro-centric Home Environment
Inventory

Multidimensional Inventory of
Black Identity (MIBI)

Parent Stress Index (PSI)
Inventory of Race Related Stress
(IRRS)

Means for Parenting Practices and parent-rated child behavior for control and
intervention: Parenting Practices
4
3.5
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
H
sh
ar
e
lin
ip
sc
Di
g
in
nt
re
Pa
Post control
e
tiv
si
Po
g
rin
ito
on
M
Baseline control
Baseline Intervention
Post Intervention
Means for Parenting Practices and parent-rated child behavior for control and
intervention: Parents Experience of Racial Socialization
25
20
15
10
5
0
Total Score
Baseline control
Baseline Intervention
Post control
Post Intervention
Means for Parenting Practices and parent-rated child behavior for control and
intervention: Child Conduct Problem
56
54
52
50
48
46
Conduct Problems
Baseline control
Baseline Intervention
Problem Behavior
Post control
Post Intervention
Means for Parenting Practices and parent-rated child behavior for control and
intervention: Child Social Competence
120
110
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Responsibility
Cooperation
Baseline control
Baseline Intervention
Self-Control
Post control
Post Intervention
Conclusion

BPSS is a model for incorporating culturally relevant
content and processes into established evidence-based
interventions.

BPSS is a promising preventive intervention with
encouraging preliminary data.
 The feasibility as been established.
 A preliminary evaluation of BPSS via a randomized
wait list control pilot is complete.
 Significant results in positive changes in parenting,
including reduction in harsh discipline, increase in use
of positive racial socialization strategies, and positive
changes in social and racial competence in African
American children.
Coard, S., Foy-Watson, S., Zimmer, C., & Wallace, A. (2007). Considering culturally relevant parenting practices in intervention
development and adaptation: A randomized control trial of the Black Parenting Strengths and Strategies (BPSS) Program. The
Counseling Psychologist 36(6). 797-820.
THANK YOU!!
Contact Information:
Stephanie I. Coard, Ph.D
University of North Carolina - Greensboro
[email protected]
(336)334-4666
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