Culturally Adapted Behavioral Activation

Journal Article

The scarcity of accessible culturally competent service providers and a general sense of mistrust in Eurocentric-based mental health settings exacerbate the lack of help seeking and effective therapeutic engagement for Latinos. Thus, clinical interventions that account for diverse values and worldviews may be an important step in the helpful treatment of U.S. Latino populations. Behavioral activation (BA), an evidence-based intervention for the treatment of depression, was recently evaluated through a preliminary clinical trial study in a community clinic primarily serving Spanish-speaking Latinos, and the results were promising. A culturally adapted version of BA was developed for Latinos, which took into consideration the cultural value of familismo (a collectivist worldview and preference for maintaining close connections to family); however, BA has not been previously applied to Latino families. The current case study presents the clinical treatment of a Mexican American family living in the southwest of the United States experiencing numerous stressors resulting in depressive symptoms. Specifically, this family sought therapy having experienced many negative life events, including stressors associated with institutionalized racism, their financial situation, and acculturation process. This led to a disruption of the family hierarchy, anger, unhappiness, fear, and isolation among family members. Outcomes of the intervention include a decrease in depressive symptoms and improved family communication and relationships by their involvement in activities such as attending cultural events in their community, family outings, and the children’s participation in extracurricular activities.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Benson-Flórez, G; Santiago-Rivera, A; Nagy, G

Published Date

  • February 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 9 - 24

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-3802

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1534-6501

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/1534650116668630


  • en