Adaptation happens: a qualitative case study of implementation of The Incredible Years evidence‐based parent training programme in a residential substance abuse treatment programme

Gregory A. Aarons (Department of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, University of California, San Diego, California, USA)
Elizabeth A. Miller (Department of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, University of California, San Diego, California, USA)
Amy E. Green (Department of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, University of California, San Diego, California, USA)
Jennifer A. Perrott (Department of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, University of California, San Diego, California, USA)
Richard Bradway (Alcohol and Drug Services Division, Mental Health Systems, Inc., San Diego, California, USA)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Publication date: 30 November 2012

Abstract

Purpose

Evidence‐based practices (EBPs) are increasingly being implemented in real‐world settings. While intervention effectiveness is dependent on fidelity, interventions are often adapted to service settings according to the needs of stakeholders at multiple levels. This study aims to examine the naturalistic implementation of The Incredible Years (IY) parenting programme in a residential substance abuse treatment programme for pregnant and parenting women.

Design/methodology/approach

The study took place in a residential substance abuse treatment programme serving pregnant and parenting women and their children. Participants included 120 female clients. The primary IY facilitator was a master's level counselling psychologist. In person observations of IY sessions were completed by a trained bachelor's level anthropologist. Ethnographic field notes were collected and then coded in keeping with a priori themes and to identify emergent themes. The Parent Group Leader Checklist was used to evaluate quality and integrity of the IY basic parent programme.

Findings

Quantitative analyses indicate that fidelity varied by type of checklist activity. Specifically, adherence to the IY programme was highest in beginning topic activities, setup, and home activity review, and lowest in role play, vignettes, and wrap‐up activities. Qualitative analyses revealed a number of adaptations in implementation of IY. Adaptations fit into two broad categories: modification of programme delivery and modification of programme content. Within each of these categories modifications included organisation‐driven adaptations, provider‐driven adaptations, and consumer‐driven adaptations.

Practical implications

Changes to evidence‐based practice generally take two forms – adaptations consistent with model intent and theoretical approach and changes that represent drift from core elements of the EBP. The challenge for implementation science is to develop frameworks in which models can be adapted enough to make them viable for the service context (or the service context adapted to fit the model), yet avoid drift and maintain fidelity. Attending to the complexities of adaptation prior to and during implementation in a planned way is likely to help organisations better utilise EBPs to meet their unique needs while maintaining fidelity.

Originality/value

The paper shows that identification of types of intervention adaptations and drift allows for consideration of systematic approaches, frameworks, and processes to increase adherence during EBP implementation in community mental health and substance abuse treatment settings.

Keywords

Citation

Aarons, G., Miller, E., Green, A., Perrott, J. and Bradway, R. (2012), "Adaptation happens: a qualitative case study of implementation of The Incredible Years evidence‐based parent training programme in a residential substance abuse treatment programme", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 233-245. https://doi.org/10.1108/17466661211286463

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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