Establishing and Evaluating the Key Functions of an Interactive Systems Framework Using an Assets-Getting to Outcomes Intervention

Published in: American Journal of Community Psychology, v. 50, no. 3-4, Dec. 2012, p.295-310

Posted on on January 01, 2012

by Matthew Chinman, Joie D. Acosta, Patricia A. Ebener, Q. Burkhart, Michael Clifford, Maryann Corsello, Tim Duffey, Sarah B. Hunter, Margaret Jones, Michel Lahti, et al.

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Community practitioners can face difficulty in achieving outcomes demonstrated by prevention science. Building a community practitioner's prevention capacity—the knowledge and skills needed to conduct critical prevention practices—could improve the quality of prevention and its outcomes. The purpose of this article is to: (1) describe how an intervention called Assets-Getting To Outcomes (AGTO) was used to establish the key functions of the ISF and present early lessons learned from that intervention's first 6 months and (2) examine whether there is an empirical relationship between practitioner capacity at the individual level and the performance of prevention at the program level—a relationship predicted by the ISF but untested. The article describes an operationalization of the ISF in the context of a five-year randomized controlled efficacy trial that combines two complementary models designed to build capacity: Getting To Outcomes (GTO) and Developmental Assets. The trial compares programs and individual practitioners from six community-based coalitions using AGTO with programs and practitioners from six similar coalitions that are not. In this article, we primarily focus on what the ISF calls innovation specific capacity and discuss how the combined AGTO innovation structures and uses feedback about its capacity-building activities, which can serve as a model for implementing the ISF. Focus group discussions used to gather lessons learned from the first 6 months of the AGTO intervention suggest that while the ISF may have been conceptualized as three distinct systems, in practice they are less distinct. Findings from the baseline wave of data collection of individual capacity and program performance suggest that practitioner capacity predicts, in part, performance of prevention programs. Empirically linking practitioner capacity and performance of prevention provides empirical support for both the ISF and AGTO.

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