Open Access Open Badges Correspondence

Developing community-based preventive interventions in Hong Kong: a description of the first phase of the family project

Sunita M Stewart1, Cecilia S Fabrizio2*, Malia R Hirschmann2 and Tai Hing Lam2

Author Affiliations

1 University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Texas, USA

2 The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, SAR

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2012, 12:106  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-106

Published: 7 February 2012



This paper describes the development of culturally-appropriate family-based interventions and their relevant measures, to promote family health, happiness and harmony in Hong Kong. Programs were developed in the community, using a collaborative approach with community partners. The development process, challenges, and the lessons learned are described. This experience may be of interest to the scientific community as there is little information currently available about community-based development of brief interventions with local validity in cultures outside the West.


The academic-community collaborative team each brought strengths to the development process and determined the targets for intervention (parent-child relationships). Information from expert advisors and stakeholder discussion groups was collected and utilized to define the sources of stress in parent-child relationships.


Themes emerged from the literature and discussion groups that guided the content of the intervention. Projects emphasized features that were appropriate for this cultural group and promoted potential for sustainability, so that the programs might eventually be implemented at a population-wide level. Challenges included ensuring local direction, relevance and acceptability for the intervention content, engaging participants and enhancing motivation to make behavior changes after a brief program, measurement of behavior changes, and developing an equal partner relationship between academic and community staff.


This work has public health significance because of the global importance of parent-child relationships as a risk-factor for many outcomes in adulthood, the need to develop interventions with strong evidence of effectiveness to populations outside the West, the potential application of our interventions to universal populations, and characteristics of the interventions that promote dissemination, including minimal additional costs for delivery by community agencies, and high acceptability to participants.