Feasibility of a culturally adapted positive psychological intervention for Hispanics/Latinos with elevated risk for cardiovascular disease

Rosalba Hernandez*, Elaine Cheung, Mercedes Carnethon, Frank J. Penedo, Judith T. Moskowitz, Lizet Martinez, Stephen M. Schueller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Although increasing emotional well-being has been proposed as a potential pathway to drive cardiac health, emotional well-being interventions for people with cardiac risk are underdeveloped, particularly among Hispanic/Latino adults. Our objective was to pilot a well-being intervention drawing on positive psychology concepts to determine feasibility and acceptability in Hispanics/Latinos at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). We developed a Spanish-language positive psychological intervention, with cultural tailoring informed by formative qualitative work, to promote emotional well-being and its antecedents in Hispanics/Latinos. Hispanic/Latino adults (n = 19) self-reporting two or more CVD risk factors were enrolled in our single-arm 8-week pilot trial. The group intervention consisted of 8 weekly 90-min sessions delivered by a bilingual licensed clinical social worker. Mean age was 54.1 years, 68.8% were female, and 50% had ≤eighth-grade education. Eleven of 19 Hispanic/Latino adults completed the 8-week program for a 57.89% retention rate, with a majority of factors leading to dropout unrelated to program content or mode of delivery. Most participants felt satisfied overall with each session (97.1%). Largest increases relative to baseline after receiving the intervention were found in engagement in happiness-inducing behaviors (e.g., meditation), emotional vitality, and subjective happiness using metrics of reliable change and effect sizes. This single-arm trial documented adequate feasibility and acceptability, although strategies to increase retention are warranted. Future studies should test our intervention using a randomized trial design with a larger sample size and inclusion of biomarkers (e.g., C-reactive protein) to document impact of our intervention on cardiac-related health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-897
Number of pages11
JournalTranslational behavioral medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 21 2018


  • Cardiovascular disease risk factors
  • Cultural adaptation
  • Feasibility
  • Hispanics/Latinos
  • Positive psychology
  • Psychological well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Applied Psychology


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