Therapist Report of Adaptations to Delivery of Evidence-Based Practices Within a System-Driven Reform of Publicly Funded Children’s Mental Health Services

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Abstract

Objective: This study examined clinical adaptations reported by community therapists to multiple evidence-based practices (EBPs) currently implemented in children’s mental health services. Based on an item set informed by Stirman and colleagues’ model (2015), 2 factors emerged describing Augmenting adaptations and Reducing/Reordering adaptations. We used multilevel modeling to examine therapist- and practice-level predictors of therapist reports of each type of adaptation. Method: Data were drawn from an online survey, including a novel therapist report measure of EBP adaptations, completed by 572 therapists (89.2% female, Mage = 37.08 years, 33.4% non-Hispanic White) delivering EBPs in the context of a system-driven, fiscally mandated implementation effort. Results: Analyses revealed that the 2 types of therapist adaptations (Augmenting and Reducing/Reordering) could be readily discriminated, with therapists reporting significantly more Augmenting than Reducing/Reordering adaptations. Therapists of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity and with fewer years of experience reported more extensive Augmenting adaptations, but no therapist background characteristics were associated with Reducing/Reordering adaptations. Therapists’ general attitudes that EBPs diverged from their personal approach to therapy were associated with reporting more Augmenting and Reducing/Reordering adaptations. In contrast, negative perceptions toward the specific EBP predicted Reducing/Reordering adaptations, but not Augmenting adaptations. Conclusions: Community therapist reports suggest that most adaptations undertaken involve engaging with the practice to augment the fit of the EBPs for local contexts; however, when practices were perceived negatively, therapists were more likely to make adaptations reducing or rearranging components.

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