Research Utilization Among Children’s Mental Health Providers

Melanie Barwick, Katherine Boydell, Elaine Stasilius, H. Ferguson, Karen Blase, Dean Fixsen
Children with emotional and behavioural disorders should be able to count on receiving care that meets their needs and is based on the best scientific evidence available, however, many do not receive these services. Implementation of evidence-based practice (EBP) relies, in part, on the research utilization practices of mental health care providers. This study reports on a survey of research utilization practices among 80 children's mental health (CMH) service provider organizations in Ontario, Canada. Methods: A web-based survey was distributed to 80 CMH service provider organizations, to which 51 executive directors and 483 children's mental health practitioners responded. Research utilization was assessed using questions with Likert-type responses based on the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation's Four-A's approach: access, assess, adapt, apply. Results: There was general agreement among executive directors and practitioners regarding the capacity of their organizations to use – access, assess, adapt, and apply – research evidence. Overall, both groups rated their organizations as using research information 'somewhat well.' The low response rate to the practitioner survey should be noted. Conclusion: These findings provide a useful benchmark from which changes in reported research utilization in the Ontario CMH sector can be tracked over time, as a function of EBP training and implementation initiatives, for instance. The need to improve access to research evidence should be addressed because it relates to the eventual implementation and uptake of evidence-based practices. Communities of practice are recommended as a strategy that would enable practitioners to build capacity in their adaptation and application of research evidence.

Barwick, M., Boydell, K., Stasiulus, E., Ferguson, H., Blase, K., & Fixsen, D. (2008). Research Utilization Among Children’s Mental Health Providers. Journal of Implementation Science. 3(19).