Recently Completed Research

Reducing Teen Sexual Behavior: A Clinic-Based Approach

National Institute of Mental Health               
Grant No. 1 R34 MH078719-01A1
Duration of study:  2007 – 2010

The primary aim of this project was to develop a clinic-based intervention to reduce sexual risk taking among Latino and African American adolescents. The intervention, Families Talking Together (FTT), occurred in a primary healthcare clinic and was coordinated through social workers when physicians saw adolescents for their annual physical examinations. The research led to a large-scale clinical trial in the form of an R01 submitted to the National Institutes of Health. 

Turnover in the Maquilas of Rural Guatemala: Impact on Individuals and Households

National Science Foundation
Duration of study: 2006 – 2010

In the 1980s, Guatemala saw strong growth in the presence of maquila industries as a result of complex globalization processes. Capital found in Guatemala low salaries, low levels of activism in the rural areas, and a large mass of indigenous peoples in search of their first jobs outside agriculture.  The preferred workers, young and mostly women, were eager to adopt a “modern life” through industrial wage labor. The industries report high labor turnover. Most studies on labor turnover have been conducted by industry or by students of industrial organization with the aim to lower existing rates to acceptable, often pre-determined optimum levels. Limited labor options are available to the people of the Guatemalan highlands. In earlier studies by CLAFH members, it was found that maquila workers had great ambivalence about their jobs. They are expected to work long hours, complete mandatory overtime, with no food for many hours. Workers are attracted to the social aspects of factory work, including friendships and romantic relations with people they would not have been able to meet otherwise. They also see the new social activities (such as going out after work or on weekends) as desirable.  This labor strategy depends upon the workers’ understanding of the temporary nature of their work, because the industry needs a large mass of workers to draw upon, given the difficult working conditions.  However, the labor strategy also takes advantage of worker hopes for a new and “modern” life.

The present study was aimed at documenting labor turnover rates, reasons for turnover from the perspective of workers, and its impact on individuals and households in the Central Highlands of Guatemala.  Findings documented the strategies the sources of turnover and the strategies that families use to deal with such turnover. In addition, the study documented the effects of employment in maquila factories on gender dynamics within families and the disparities between what workers see as their rights and what those rights officially.

A Community Clinic Partnership Demonstrating Social Workers’ Efficacy: A Clinic-Based Intervention

Subcontract with the Collaborative HIV-Prevention Research in Minority Communities Program, Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Grant No. 5 R25 HD045810-04
Duration of study:  2006 – 2008

The objective of this project was to conduct formative qualitative research with healthcare providers and African American and Latino families to assess feasibility issues related to conducting a parent-based intervention, Families Talking Together (FTT), in a clinic-based, or primary healthcare setting.

Building Quality Parent Components for School Based Health Programs

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Division of Adolescent and School Health
Grant No. U87/CCU220155
Duration of study: 2001 – 2007

This project sought to develop and evaluate a parent based intervention, Families Talking Together (FTT) that could be used with existing school based programs designed to prevent or reduce sexual risk behavior or prevent or reduce tobacco use in young adolescents. The school-based FTT project focused on a middle school aged sample of African American and Latino youth.

Latino Parenting and Adolescent Sexual Risk Taking

National Institute of Child Health and Development
Grant No. 1R01HD051471
Duration of Study: 2006 – 2009

The primary aim of this study was to examine sexual risk taking among a nationally representative sample of Latino youth during both adolescence and as they transitioned to young adulthood. Specifically, we conducted secondary analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to what social psychological factors and dimensions of parenting during adolescence were predictive of sexual risk taking behavior among Latino youth.

Reducing Adolescent Sexual Risk Behavior and Vulnerability to HIV-Infection in the Dominican Republic: A Parent-Based Approach

Columbia University: Diversity Initiative Research Fellowship, Diversity Funds in the Professional Schools; Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race; Institute for Latin American Studies.
Duration of study: 2007 – 2009

The project was an extension of the PI’s research on parental influences on adolescent sexual risk behavior with Dominican families in New York, NY.  The immediate aim of the project was to conduct formative qualitative and quantitative studies with mothers and adolescents residing in the Dominican Republic. The data would be utilized to secure National Institutes of Health funding to develop a parent-based intervention to prevent sexual risk behavior among Dominican youth ages 11-15.

Religion and Adolescent Sexual Behavior

National Institute of Child Health and Development
Grant No. R01HD049443-01
Duration of Study: 2006 – 2008

The purpose of this project was to explore how religious beliefs, orientations, and behavior predicted sexual risk taking among American youth. We used data collected from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to examine the impact of religion and religiosity on sexual risk taking among a nationally representative sample of adolescents as they transitioned from adolesence to young adulthood.