Linking molar organizational climate and strategic implementation climate to clinicians' use of evidence-based psychotherapy techniques: Cross-sectional and lagged analyses from a 2-year observational study

Nathaniel J. Williams*, Mark G. Ehrhart, Gregory A. Aarons, Steven C. Marcus, Rinad S. Beidas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Behavioral health organizations are characterized by multiple organizational climates, including molar climate, which encompasses clinicians' shared perceptions of how the work environment impacts their personal well-being, and strategic implementation climate, which includes clinicians' shared perceptions of the extent to which evidence-based practice implementation is expected, supported, and rewarded by the organization. Theory suggests these climates have joint, cross-level effects on clinicians' implementation of evidence-based practice and that these effects may be long term (i.e., up to 2 years); however, no empirical studies have tested these relationships. We hypothesize that molar climate moderates implementation climate's concurrent and long-term relationships with clinicians' use of evidence-based practice such that strategic implementation climate will have its most positive effects when it is accompanied by a positive molar climate. Methods: Hypotheses were tested using data collected from 235 clinicians in 20 behavioral health organizations. At baseline, clinicians reported on molar climate and implementation climate. At baseline and at a 2-year follow-up, all clinicians who were present in the organizations reported on their use of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy techniques, an evidence-based practice for youth psychiatric disorders. Two-level mixed-effects regression models tested whether baseline molar climate and implementation climate interacted in predicting clinicians' evidence-based practice use at baseline and at 2-year follow-up. Results: In organizations with more positive molar climates at baseline, higher levels of implementation climate predicted increased evidence-based practice use among clinicians who were present at baseline and among clinicians who were present in the organizations at 2-year follow-up; however, in organizations with less positive molar climates, implementation climate was not related to clinicians' use of evidence-based practice at either time point. Conclusions: Optimizing clinicians' implementation of evidence-based practice in behavioral health requires attention to both molar climate and strategic implementation climate. Strategies that focus exclusively on implementation climate may not be effective levers for behavior change if the organization does not also engender a positive molar climate. These findings have implications for the development of implementation theory and effective implementation strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number85
JournalImplementation Science
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 25 2018

Keywords

  • Behavioral health
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Implementation climate
  • Interactive effects
  • Moderation
  • Molar climate
  • Organizational climate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics

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