The quality of evidence-based interventions (EBIs) is directly related to the overall success of the community programs. “First, low-implementation quality is associated with poorer EBI outcomes,” said Richard Spoth of the Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute at Iowa State University, and lead author of a new study examining the effectiveness of EBIs. “Second, the quality of EBI implementation tends to drift over time. That is, the longer service providers are implementing a given EBI with successive cohorts of youth, the more likely the implementation is to drift to lower quality levels, absent quality controls.” Community EBIs rely on many factors to be successful. “Thus, it is critically important to examine the ability of community-based efforts to sustain quality implementation of EBIs with successive cohorts of youth, particularly with community-based teams,” said Spoth.
PROSPER (PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) is an innovative model for EBIs. “The general purpose of this delivery system is to reduce the prevalence of youth problem behaviors, enhance positive youth development, and strengthen families.” Spoth added, “It is designed to provide ongoing, proactive technical assistance to assure that EBIs provided for youth and their parents are implemented properly, are supported in the community, and can be sustained over time.”
Spoth assessed several community EBIs after they implemented PROSPER and was impressed with the results. “Average adherence ratings approached 90% for both the family-focused and school-based interventions, a high level of quality that was sustained across as many as six implementation cohorts,” he said. “Consistent with the sustained adherence ratings, other indicators of implementation quality also showed consistently positive results. Speciﬁcally, measures of participation by attending families and adolescents remained quite high throughout the observed period, as did measures of facilitator quality.” He believes the results from his study are due in large part to one of the primary goals of PROSPER, that of continuing to provide high quality services to communities over the long-term. Spoth added, “The results of this study encourage further deployment of intervention delivery systems such as PROSPER as a means of conducting large scale preventive interventions in general populations.”
Spoth, Richard, Max Guyll, Cleve Redmond, Mark Greenberg, and Mark Feinberg. “Six-Year Sustainability of Evidence-Based Intervention Implementation Quality by Community-University Partnerships: The PROSPER Study.” American Journal of Community Psychology 48.5 (2011): 412-25. Print.
© Copyright 2011 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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