The trajectory of fidelity in a multiyear trial of the family check-up predicts change in child problem behavior.

Amanda Chiapa*, Justin D. Smith, Hanjoe Kim, Thomas J. Dishion, Daniel S. Shaw, Melvin N. Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Therapist fidelity to evidence-based family interventions has consistently been linked to child and family outcomes. However, few studies have evaluated the potential ebb and flow of fidelity of therapists over time. We examined therapist drift in fidelity over 4 years in the context of a Family Check-Up prevention services in early childhood (ages 2-5 years). Method: At age 2, families engaging in Women, Infants, and Children Nutritional Supplement Program services were randomized and offered annual Family Check-Ups. Seventy-nine families with a child in the clinical range of problem behaviors at age 2 years were included in this analysis. Results: Latent growth modeling revealed a significant linear decline in fidelity over time (M=-0.35, SD = 0.35) and that steeper declines were related to less improvement in caregiver-reported problem behaviors assessed at ages 7.5/8.5 years (b=-.69, p = .003; β =-.95, 95% CI [-2.11,-0.22]). Conclusion: These findings add to the literature concerning the need to continually monitor therapist fidelity to an evidence-based practice over time to optimize family benefits. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1006-1011
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Externalizing
  • Family Check-Up
  • fidelity
  • implementation
  • randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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