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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Traits of Workers May Predict Use of Evidence-Based Interventions

The culture and climate of an organization may not be as important as the traits of individual workers when it comes to implementing empirically supported addiction treatments, suggests a study from the Washington University in St. Louis – Brown School Public Health Programs.

New faculty and doctoral student portraits for the George Warren Brown School of Social Work Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012 at Washington University in St. Louis. (Photo © Whitney Curtis)

[Photo: Dr. David A. Patterson Silver Wolf]

The author, Dr. David A. Patterson Silver Wolf, selected a short, alcohol screening-and-education intervention that had been shown to reduce high-risk drinking. He recruited 54 workers from 6 health agencies, and trained them to provide the intervention to clients.

Dr. Patterson found that implementation of the intervention varied widely across and within the agencies.  Neither worker attitudes toward empirically supported treatments nor organizational culture correlated with implementation.  In focus groups, the top implementers were found to be simply conscientious: Hard-working, goal-oriented and motivated.

“Investigating certain worker traits that are related to implementation behavior would be beneficial,” said Dr. Patterson, assistant professor at the WashU.  “Transferring characteristics of success into practice might be a better approach than studying implementation failures.”

The study was published April 24 in Social Work in Health Care.

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