This SBIR Phase I project uses formative evaluation strategies to develop, test, refine, and evaluate an alpha prototype of the 10-session, evidence-based Strengthening Families Program 7-17 and SFP Home-Use DVD as a web-assisted platform.
The Specific Aim of the new ?SFP Online!? program is to increase family accessibility and engagement by transitioning from costly group-based, facilitator-led, parenting and family skills training to low cost web-delivery. SFP draws heavily on theories that integrate family dynamics (monitoring, bonding, and communication), parenting skills, youth drug etiology (risk and protective factors), and social learning. Substantial empirical evidence from 14 RCTs with diverse families and locations shows that SFP works with large program effect sizes to reduce behavioral health risks and substance abuse. Phase I will determine whether the adapted online version can reproduce outcomes of the facilitator-led family group version with minimal loss of fidelity, efficacy, and vitality. Five integrated formative evaluation strategies involving 380 participants including ten focus groups with potential end users (100 parents and 100 youth) from SFP providers nationwide will explore adaptations, usability, feasibility and barriers to use. Consumer preference surveys tapping both recent SFP DVD users and agency service providers will explore factors that may mitigate or enhance delivery of SFP Online. This approach based on input from both parents and youth and providers will ensure that SFP Online is culturally and developmentally appropriate. We will also rely on key informant interviews with 50 family service providers and community stakeholders to address barriers to implementation and the eventual integration of SFP Online into existing prevention and treatment strategies. We will include interviews with prevention scientists and e-learning experts to review the architectural plan and ensure fidelity to current prevention and technology initiatives. These consumer surveys will inform a product specification plan supporting a ?wireframe technology? to make SFP Online a viable web-assisted program. To create the alpha prototype in Phase I SFP LLC will collaborate with 3C Institute, a leading software development company with extensive expertise building interactive multimedia technology for behavioral health interventions. 3C Institute will employ its proprietary Dynamic e-Learning Platform (DeLP), a customizable technology that integrates the latest in artificial intelligence and machine learning. LARS Research Institute, a leading behavioral technology transfer company will assist in the evaluation of the program?s adherence to the standards of evidence. We will also draw on extensive community support based on 30 years of administering SFP products to family service agencies nationwide and other CBOs that emphasize parent training, and drug and child maltreatment prevention. The proposed formative evaluation strategies and collaboration with ten national prevention and e-learning experts should ensure timely and successful completion of the Phase I research activities and produce an effortless transition to the Phase II build-and-test stage.

Public Health Relevance

? SFP Online! This Phase I SBIR study seeks to adapt the Strengthening Families Program, an evidence-based facilitator-led family skills training and youth drug prevention program with family classes and entertaining video clips, to a web-based platform. Providing parenting training and drug prevention via the web offers tremendous cost savings and provides an efficient conduit for mass dissemination. The proposal utilizes five formative evaluation strategies to examine the steps required for technological adaptation and which will retain program and implementation fidelity.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Sims, Belinda E
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Strengthening Families Program, LLC
Salt Lake City
United States
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