Therapists’ Knowledge of Practice Elements Derived From the Evidence Base: Misconceptions, Accuracies, and Large-Scale Improvement Guidance

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Abstract

Although knowledge of evidence-based practices (EBPs) has become a growing focus of youth mental health implementation efforts, therapists’ current EBP knowledge level from a practice element perspective is unclear. The present investigation examined (a) therapists’ baseline knowledge of whether various practice elements derived from EBPs and (b) the degree to which EBP knowledge and knowledge errors vary with the strength of research supporting those techniques. Descriptive analyses and correlations, respectively, were used to investigate the 2 aims of this study. Participants were 196 therapists from the State of Hawaii. Results from the 1st aim of this study indicate that participants were most knowledgeable of practices derived from the evidence base for the problem area of disruptive behavior. In addition, the participants tended to overestimate the research support for common factors and underestimate the research support for high-intensity behavioral modification techniques. Results from the 2nd aim of this study suggest that there was a significant relationship between research support and EBP knowledge only for the problem area of disruptive behavior. These analyses also indicated a negative relationship between research support and knowledge errors for disruptive behavior and anxiety. These findings suggest that examining therapists’ EBP knowledge from a practice element perspective may provide important information about how to focus the dissemination and training efforts of treatment techniques.

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