Predictors of community therapists' use of therapy techniques in a large public mental health system

Rinad S. Beidas*, Steven Marcus, Gregory A. Aarons, Kimberly E. Hoagwood, Sonja Schoenwald, Arthur C. Evans, Matthew O. Hurford, Trevor Hadley, Frances K. Barg, Lucia M. Walsh, Danielle R. Adams, David S. Mandell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations

Abstract

Importance: Few studies have examined the effects of individual and organizational characteristics on the use of evidence-based practices in mental health care. Improved understanding of these factors could guide future implementation efforts to ensure effective adoption, implementation, and sustainment of evidence-based practices. Objective: To estimate the relative contribution of individual and organizational factors on therapist self-reported use of cognitive-behavioral, family, and psychodynamic therapy techniques within the context of a large-scale effort to increase use of evidence-based practices in an urban public mental health system serving youth and families.. Design, Setting, And Participants: In this observational, cross-sectional study of 23 organizations, data were collected from March 1 through July 25, 2013.We used purposive sampling to recruit the 29 largest child-serving agencies, which together serve approximately 80% of youth receiving publically funded mental health care. The final sample included 19 agencies with 23 sites, 130 therapists, 36 supervisors, and 22 executive administrators.. Main Outcomes And Measures: Therapist self-reported use of cognitive-behavioral, family, and psychodynamic therapy techniques, as measured by the Therapist Procedures Checklist-Family Revised.. Results: Individual factors accounted for the following percentages of the overall variation: cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques, 16%; family therapy techniques, 7%; and psychodynamic therapy techniques, 20%. Organizational factors accounted for the following percentages of the overall variation: cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques, 23%; family therapy techniques, 19%; and psychodynamic therapy techniques, 7%. Older therapists and therapists with more open attitudes were more likely to endorse use of cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques, as were those in organizations that had spent fewer years participating in evidence-based practice initiatives, had more resistant cultures, and had more functional climates.Women were more likely to endorse use of family therapy techniques, as were those in organizations employing more fee-for-service staff and with more stressful climates. Therapists with more divergent attitudes and less knowledge about evidence-based practices were more likely to use psychodynamic therapy techniques.. Conclusions And Relevance: This study suggests that individual and organizational factors are important in explaining therapist behavior and use of evidence-based practices, but the relative importance varies by therapeutic technique..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-382
Number of pages9
JournalJAMA Pediatrics
Volume169
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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