The Strong African American Families (SAAF) program is a universal preventive intervention designed to deter alcohol use among adolescents living in the rural South. The families whom SAAF is designed to serve live in small towns and communities in rural Georgia in which poverty rates are among the highest in the nation and unemployment rates are above the national average. Few, if any, prevention programs are available to the several million African American youth who live in the rural South and, other than SAAF;no empirically based interventions have been developed for this population to prevent alcohol use and abuse. SAAF's efficacy has been documented extensively in a randomized trial involving 677 rural African American youth and their families. Thus far, SAAF has demonstrated efficacy in deterring the initiation and escalation of alcohol use for 5 years following the end of prevention programming. In this application, we propose to advance SAAF's public health impact by testing the effectiveness of a community dissemination model for implementing SAAF in rural Southern communities. To develop the dissemination model, a partnership was formed among SAAF's developers, rural African American community members, and the Cooperative Extension Service (CES). From this partnership's collective insights, the SAAF Community Dissemination Model (SAAF-CDM) was developed. The overarching aim of this proposal is to embed the SAAF-CDM into eight rural Georgia counties and evaluate its effectiveness in preventing alcohol use and abuse using a randomized trial. African American families with a son or daughter in the seventh grade (N = 576) will be recruited randomly. Using a wait-list control design, we will randomly select half of the participants to receive SAAF shortly after randomization;the other half will receive SAAF 1 year later. County implementation teams, under the supervision of the local CES Agent, will include a SAAF Coordinator and three lay intervention facilitators from the community. State-level CES professors and implementation specialists from the Center for Family Research at the University of Georgia will train implementation team members and provide them with ongoing technical assistance.
The proposed research will test the effectiveness of a community dissemination model for implementing the Strong African American Families (SAAF) alcohol use prevention program in rural Southern communities. If the proposed research demonstrates the effectiveness of the community dissemination model in deterring alcohol use among rural African American youth, this will pave the way for the dissemination of SAAF throughout rural areas of the South.