The longitudinal impact of an evidence-based multiple family group intervention (Amaka Amasanyufu) on family cohesion among children in Uganda: Analysis of the cluster randomized SMART Africa-Uganda scale-up study (2016–2022)

Family functioning plays a critical role in childhood disruptive behavior disorders (The Family Journal, 2003, 11(1), 33-41; Research in Nursing and Health, 2016, 39(4), 229-243). Yet, there is limited research on the impact of evidence-based family strengthening interventions on improving family cohesion as a protective factor among children experiencing behavioral challenges. To address this gap, we analyzed data (N = 636) from the SMART Africa-Uganda study (2016-2022), a cluster randomized clinical trial testing an evidence-based family-strengthening intervention called Amaka Amasanyufu (translated as "Happy Families" in the local language). Children aged 8-13 and their caregivers were recruited from 26 public primary schools that were randomized to: (1) control condition receiving generalized psychosocial literature (10 schools), (2) intervention delivered via parent peers (eight schools), and (3) intervention delivered via community healthcare workers (eight schools). Children completed the family cohesion questionnaire at baseline, 8 weeks, 16 weeks, and 6 months post-intervention completion. The intervention effectiveness was evaluated via a three-level logistic mixed effects model with pairwise comparisons across study conditions within each time point. Participants in the parent-peer intervention group had greater odds of being in the higher family cohesion group than participants in the control group at 8 weeks (OR = 3.24), 16 weeks (OR = 1.88) and 6 months (OR = 2.07). At 8 weeks, 16 weeks, and 6 months, participants in the community health worker group had 3.98, 2.08, and 1.79 times greater odds of being in the higher family cohesion group than participants in the control group, respectively. Our findings strengthen the evidence base for Amaka Amansayufu as an effective intervention that can be utilized in SSA to improve family cohesion in families with children experiencing behavioral challenges. PubMed
Family cohesion, family strengthening intervention, family wellbeing,multiple family groups, sub-Saharan Africa
Byansi, William, Ozge Sensoy Bahar, Latoya Small, et al. 'The Longitudinal Impact of an Evidence-Based Multiple Family Group Intervention (Amaka Amasanyufu) on Family Cohesion among Children in Uganda: Analysis of the Cluster Randomized SMART Africa-Uganda Scale-Up Study (2016-2022)', Family Process, (2024), .