The Family Spirit conceptual framework is based on G.R. Patterson’s model that posits parenting as the critical link between parents’ personal characteristics and environmental context and children’s individual risks and outcomes. The Family Spirit intervention seeks to promote mothers’ parenting skills while assisting them in developing coping and problem-solving skills to overcome individual and environmental stressors.
The model also incorporates traditional tribal teachings throughout the curriculum. The model developers believe that cultural teachings are protective factors that can improve maternal and child health in American Indian communities.