Explanation of Evidence-based Prevention

* Summary *
* Common Terms in the Evaluations of Evidence-based Programs *
* Core Components of a Model Program *


"Evidence-based" programs and methodologies of prevention that have been developed and evaluated using scientific processes. The criteria that are used for these processes are commonly agreed upon and used for rating interventions.  Thus, it is possible to reach a consensus that the evaluation of the research findings are credible and sustainable. Evidence-based can also be referred to as science-based, research-based or best practice.

It is important to show the credibility and sustainability of a program to ensure that participants of the prevention activity are being given the best possible chance at receiving the desired results of the intervention.  The importance of the ability of the program's results to be replicated cannot be stressed enough. The replication of results in a program illustrates that the results of the intervention were due to common factors found within the program itself and not due to an outside source.  Additionally, with the need for reputable prevention activities being available nationwide, the originating program needs to show that different groups in other areas will be able to implement the prevention activity with similar results.

Because of the importance we place on program efficacy, the Michigan Child Death Review Program cannot formally endorse any program that has not been shown to be evidence-based.  If there are any questions as to a prevention activity's value, contact us.

It can be concluded that with a reliable evidence-based program, groups are able to choose the best program for their community.

Common Terms Found in the Evaluations of Evidence-based Programs

Theory: the degree at which programs reflect clear principles about substance abuse behavior and how it can be changed.

Intervention Fidelity: how the program ensures consistent delivery.

Process Evaluation: whether the program implementation was measured.

Sampling Strategy and Implementation: how well the program selected its participants and how well they received it.

Attrition: whether the program retained participants during evaluation.

Outcome Measures: the relevance and quality of evaluation measures

Missing Data: how developers addressed incomplete measurements

Data Collection: the manner in which data were gathered.

Analysis: the appropriateness and technical adequacy of data analyses.

Other Plausible Threats to Validity: the degree to which the evaluation considers other explanations for program effects.

Replications: number of times the program has been used in the field.

Dissemination Capability: whether program materials are ready for implementation by others in the field.

Cultural/ Age Appropriateness: the degree to which the program addresses different ethnic-racial and age groups.

Integrity: overall level of confidence of the scientific rigor of the evaluation.

Utility: overall pattern of program findings to inform prevention theory and practice.

Core Components of a Model Program

Content - Program content may address generic like skills or knowledge related to alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs, but related content alone is insufficient.

Community Building - Effective programs move beyond change at the individual level. Emphasis is placed on creating lasting changes within individual, family, and school domains in an effort to create "caring communities" that share accountability for change.

Delivery - The most commonly used method to deliver program content is through written, session-by-session curricula, because many of the programs are school-based.

Context - Successful programs promote consistent message sent through multiple channels (e.g. parents, teachers, peers).

Relationships - Successful programs emphasize relationship building as a precursor to the delivery of program content. Although the number of sessions provided and activities that comprise the intervention vary, a comm.

Integration and Adaptation - Successful programs work through naturally occurring social networks. Services are delivered via the school, community-based agencies, or other networks already in place.

Strengths Focus - Effective programs view individuals and families in relation to their strengths and assets rather than focusing on deficits.

Continuity - Process evaluation data reveal that the successful programs enjoy high fidelity to the curriculum, dosage adequacy, and dosage consistency.

The above information was supplemented with that found at the website of the Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Prevention Research: http://wch.uhs.wisc.edu/01-Prevention/01-Prev-EvidenceBased.html