Development of a Coping Intervention for Latina Adolescents: Exploring Feasibility Challenges and Successes

Tuesday, 14 July 2009: 4:05 PM

Carolyn Marie Garcia, PhD, MPH
Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Jessie Kemmick Pintor, BA
Nursing, University of Minnesota, Mpls, MN
Sandi Lindgren, LSW
Social Work, El Colegio Charter School, Minneapolis, MN
Sandy Naughton, BA
Health Start, West Side Community Health Services, Minneapolis, MN

Learning Objective 1: Identify three characteristics of a coping intervention for Latina adolescents that could be implemented in various global settings.

Learning Objective 2: Describe two challenges to retaining Latina adolescents in a longitudinal school-based intervention.

Latino girls (Latinas) experience higher rates of depression and suicidal ideation than other girls their age and Latino boys. adolescents may benefit from interventions that improve their ability to respond to and cope with life stressors, including unique stressors associated with immigration and familial separation. A school-based coping intervention informed by health realization and healthy youth development was developed for and piloted with adolescents. Purpose: To evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a school-based coping intervention for adolescents.

Methods: Latina adolescents in school, 15-21 years old, were recruited into a semester long coping intervention. Participants met weekly for two-hours with two bilingual facilitators (e.g. nurse, social worker) to participate in sacred circle dialogue, exercise, and skills-building lessons. Weekly participation and attendance, and post-intervention focus group data were analyzed.

Results: Twenty-one adolescents were successfully recruited. The fall semester intervention (n=10) occurred during school (72% attendance rate); the spring semester intervention (n=11) was held after school (84% attendance rate). Nine of the 21 (42%) participants attended all sessions. Three participants had limited involvement due to deportation issues involving themselves or a family member. Focus group data confirmed the girls’ acceptability and skills learned, “like coping skills to control stress. So when you learn ways to lessen your stress then you learn to make your life a little easier.”

Conclusion: Nursing is ideally situated to develop and implement school-based interventions for adolescents, including immigrant youth who are experiencing unique stressors. Globally, effective culturally relevant interventions are needed that promote healthy coping behaviors in youth. Our findings offer useful insights about adolescent recruitment and retention into a school-based group intervention. Future research includes testing of the intervention using a randomized, clinical trial design and exploration of intervention implementation in schools outside the