PRELIMINARY EVALUATION OF A PROGRAM TO HELP LOW-INCOME LATINA MOTHERS HELP THEIR CHILDREN COPE WITH STRESS: A MIXED METHOD APPROACH
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Learning to cope with stress is one of the most important tasks of childhood. Middle childhood (ages 6 to 12) is a period when youth develop valuable coping skills. Although school-based child coping programs exist, the programs cannot provide tailored instruction to meet individual needs and are taught in a context removed from many of the stresses that children experience. Parents can help bridge these gaps by learning to guide or scaffold their children’s coping development. Few culturally sensitive programs are available for at-risk populations such as low-income Latino families. The current study used a holistic approach to examine the effects of a parenting education program designed to teach low-income Latina mothers how to help their children cope with stress and to identify program improvements to guide future program implementation. Seventeen mothers with children between the ages of 9 to 12 years old participated in a 7-week long pilot program. The results revealed that mothers were engaged, mothers utilized the program strategies, and mothers reported that their children were noticing changes in their behavior. Quantitative analyses showed that after participation in the program, mothers increased their use of positive scaffolding behaviors, decreased negative scaffolding behaviors, increased emotion coaching behaviors, and increased in some coping knowledge. Surprisingly, the program increased emotion dismissing behavior and maternal inconsistency significantly, whereas maternal nurturance and organization showed no significant differences. Results of the qualitative and quantitative analyses informed 29 recommendations to improve the program for implementation on a larger scale.