Evidence-Informed Strategies to Strengthen Family Well-Being

Project Team

Team member photos.

This project team was part of our COVID-19 pop-up theme, which tackled research related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Coping with COVID-19 project team addresses the need for evidence-informed strategies to strengthen family well-being in both domestic and global contexts.

Project 1: “Coping Together”: A Virtual Community-Based Family Intervention Delivered by Lay Providers in North Carolina

The Coping with COVID-19 team is adapting and piloting a family intervention previously implemented in Kenya for use in North Carolina. Faculty leading this team include Dr. Eve Puffer, a clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor specializing in family interventions and global mental health, and Dr. Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, a psychologist and Professor who brings expertise in the role of positive emotion and related intervention strategies. Before beginning this intervention study, this team conducted an online survey of approximately 1,500 parents across 17 Southern States, with preliminary results showing many parents are experiencing at least mild symptoms of depression and that close to 75% of parents are reporting that at least one child’s mental health and wellbeing has deteriorated since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, some parents are reporting deterioration of relationships in the family – with both their partner and their children. These results informed the adaptation of the Coping Together intervention.

“Coping Together,” a family intervention, was adapted from “Tuko Pamoja''--an intervention first developed in Kenya by Dr. Puffer and colleagues. Coping Together was collaboratively adapted with partners in the local Durham community and will be delivered to approximately 50 families in partnership with community organizations during the summer of 2021. In the fall semester of 2020, the Coping with COVID-19 team held focus groups with family and child-serving organizations to explore gaps in family functioning and mental health needs. The team then established community partnership and engaged in adaptation activities during the spring of 2021. The adapted Coping Together sessions will be delivered to groups of families online by community-based lay providers. Sessions aim to improve coping strategies and supportive family relationships with a strong focus on family communication. To evaluate the implementation of the Coping Together intervention in Durham, data will be collected to assess preliminary feasibility and effectiveness. 

Project 2: Promoting Healthy Families via Remote Engagement in Kenya and India

This team is working to promote health behavior change through the use of tailored communication strategies. Prior work by Dr. Green and his colleagues at Nivi, a Duke startup, developed a method for identifying a person's readiness to take action to improve their health. The Bass team took this work forward and completed a literature review of how information about readiness can be used to tailor digital interventions to promote behavior change. They are applying these lessons to the case of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in Kenya and India. 

Coping Together: An Adapted Family-strengthening Program Rooted in Resilience

Poster by Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, Eve Puffer, Eric Green, Amber Rider, Logan Tice, Savannah Johnson, Justin Rasmussen, Katilin Quick, Mahgul Mansoor, Preetha Ramachandran, Ameya Sanyal, Cameraon Cucuzzella, Emily Duerr and Sierra Jones

Research poster.