The Adoption and Implementation of an Evidence Based Practice in Child and Family Mental Health Services Organizations

A Pilot Study of Functional Family Therapy in New York State

Published In: Administration and Policy In Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, v. 35, no. 1-2, Mar. 2008, p. 38-49

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2007

by James Zazzali, Cathy D. Sherbourne, Kimberly Hoagwood, Deborah Greene, Michael F. Bigley, Thomas L. Sexton

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Numerous challenges persist in providing evidence-based treatments to children and families in community-based settings. Functional Family Therapy (FFT), one such evidence-based treatment, is a family prevention and intervention program for adolescents with conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder. This paper presents pilot data in support of a conceptual framework explaining the adoption and implementation of FFT in a small sample of family and child mental health services organizations in New York State. The conceptual framework is grounded in the diffusion of innovations and the organizational behavior literatures, as well as previously published accounts of the adoption and implementation of evidence-based treatments in mental health. Pilot study data demonstrated that factors associated with the adoption of FFT included: The program fitting with the mission of the organization, as well as the organization having a strong interest in evidence-based treatments. Once a decision to adopt FFT was made, the degree to which it fit with organizational characteristics (e.g., available resource sets, organizational structure, and culture) influenced the ease with which it was implemented. Implications for the adoption and implementation of other evidence-based treatments are discussed.

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