Midtreatment Problems Implementing Evidence-based Interventions in Community Settings


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Multisystemic Therapy® (MST) and Functional Family Therapy (FFT) are two widely disseminated evidence-based family-based treatments for substance abusing and delinquent adolescents. This mixed-method study examined common implementation problems in midtreatment in MST and FFT. A convenience sample of experienced therapists (20 MST, 20 FFT) and supervisors (10 MST, 10 FFT) from dissemination sites across the United States participated in semistructured telephone interviews. Participants identified retrospectively serious midtreatment process problems they perceived as threats to treatment success. Coders extracted descriptions of problems from interview transcripts and coded them into 12 categories that fell into five major themes: engaging families in treatment; difficulties implementing strategies; family relational and communication problems; complications external to therapy; and youth problem behavior. Analyses examined caregiver, therapist, and youth variables as predictors of these common midtreatment problems and whether treatment outcomes varied depending on the type of problem, therapy model, and race/ethnic match of therapist and family. MST and FFT therapists and supervisors identified many similar problems. There were, however, model-specific differences consistent with differing features of the models (e.g., FFT participants identified more family relational problems and fewer follow-through problems than their MST counterparts). Results underscore the need to consider both common and specific factors in treatment process.

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