Promoting Strong African American Families (ProSAAF)

ProSAAF 2 Continuation

Principal Investigator:  Steven Beach
Funding Agency:  National Institute on Aging
Project Period:  2012-2023

This study follows a well-characterized sample of 346 low-income African American couples in middle adulthood. The sample recently concluded participation in a randomized prevention trial of the Protecting Strong African American Families (ProSAAF) program, which NICHD funded in 2012. The ProSAAF program was designed for African American couples living in the rural South and provided a standardized, in-home program focused on preventing the spillover effect from stress onto individual, couple, and family well-being. Longitudinal efficacy analyses revealed direct effects of ProSAAF participation on supportive couple relationship processes that, in turn, forecast individuals’ self-reported physical and mental health.  Continuing to follow this sample with the addition of a comprehensive battery of health-related biomarkers allows for the first prospective study of supportive couple relationships and healthy aging among African Americans conducted within a randomized prevention trial.


Principal Investigator: Steven Beach
Funding Agency: NICHD
Project Period: 2012-2017

Will a home-based program designed to strengthen marital relationships among rural African American families with an early adolescent help to minimize the impact of economic distress?


In this project, we will recruit 400 economically distressed, two-parent rural African American families who are rearing a youth age 10-14. Families will be randomly assigned to the ProSAAF program or a minimal-contact control condition. ProSAAF consists of 6 structured, 1.5-hour sessions conducted in families’ homes plus two “booster” sessions. The curricula is designed to enhance stress-buffering couple relationship processes, competence-promoting parenting practices, and early adolescent self-regulatory processes. Baseline, 8, 16, and 24-month assessments will be obtained of adolescents’ academic, social, and self-regulatory competence; internalizing and externalizing problems; sexual activity; and substance use and intervention-targeted processes. Recruitment for this project began in January 2013 and will involve a dozen counties located throughout middle Georgia.


Principal Investigator: Steven Beach
Funding Agencies: Administration for Children and Families
Project Period: 2006-2011

Is ProSAAF, a program designed to strengthen both marriages and parenting skills among African American couples, effective?

father with kids fishing

Growing together as a couple is one of the greatest blessings and challenges in life. Although children are also a blessing, disagreements about parenting can be some of the most difficult for couples to resolve. ProSAAF is a 5-year research program designed to discover ways in which African American couples can strengthen their relationships and build on those strengths to enhance their parenting skills. This program will include 460 African American couples, 230 of whom will participate in the ProSAAF educational program. The six weekly sessions focus on relationship and parenting enrichment, with facilitators visiting and reviewing materials with participating couples. The other 230 couples will review written materials on their own without facilitator input. Data will be gathered from all participants to assess the benefits that participation affords.