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24-09-2020 | Original Paper

Family Functioning and Mental Health Changes Following a Family Therapy Intervention in Kenya: a Pilot Trial

Journal of Child and Family Studies
Eve S. Puffer, Elsa Friis Healy, Eric P. Green, Ali M. Giusto, Bonnie N. Kaiser, Puja Patel, David Ayuku
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Supplementary information

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10826-020-01816-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Family-based interventions offer a promising avenue for addressing chronic negative family interactions that contribute to lasting consequences, including family violence and the onset and maintenance of mental health disorders. The purpose of this study was to conduct a mixed-methods, single group pre-post pilot trial of a family therapy intervention (N = 10) delivered by lay counselors in Kenya. Results show that both caregivers and children reported reductions in family dysfunction and improved mental health after the intervention. Point estimates represent change of more than two standard deviations from baseline for the majority of primary outcomes. Treated families also reported a decrease in harsh discipline, intimate partner violence, and alcohol-related problems. These results were corroborated by findings from an observational measure of family functioning and in-depth qualitative interviews. This study presents preliminary evidence of pre-post improvements following a family therapy intervention consisting of streamlined, evidence-informed family therapy strategies to target family dysfunction and mental health.

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