Underutilization of evidence-based psychotherapy (EBP) by adolescent substance abusers (ASA) represents a significant problem for our field and for our nation's public health. Prior treatment dissemination research has made inroads toward increasing the supply of EBP offered in the community, but efforts have not considered whether parents of ASA will demand the services provided. The overall goal of this proposal is to support the candidate, Sara Becker, Ph.D., in developing an independent clinical research program focused on applying strategies from the field of services marketing to increase demand for EBP. This long-term goal will be achieved through conduct of a mentored research study as well as didactic coursework, seminars, workshops, hands-on training, and manuscript writing. Career development activities have been crafted to support four training goals: (1) developing expertise in services marketing theory and methods relevant to increasing client demand;(2) gaining expert knowledge of leading treatment dissemination models and strategies;(3) acquiring specialized training in qualitative analysis;and (4) building proficiency in survey methodology. Training will be accomplished with the unconditional institutional support of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University. An interdisciplinary team of mentors will be co-led by Dr. Anthony Spirito of Brown University, an expert in the delivery, evaluation, and dissemination of EBP for ASA, and Dr. Valarie Zeithaml of the University of North Carolina, an international pioneer in the field of services marketing. The proposed research plan contains three phases. First, qualitative research with ASA and their parents will be conducted to adapt a well-established conceptual model and quantitative measure of service quality for the evaluation of substance use services. Second, a web-based survey of parents of ASA will establish the psychometric properties of the refined measure and elucidate the service preferences of this population. The survey uses a multi-method, single-mode sampling strategy that integrates common approaches from both marketing and treatment research. Finally, a randomized, web-based trial will compare the effectiveness of targeted marketing messages versus standard clinical information in persuading parents of ASA to seek EBP. Targeted marketing messages will be developed using the feedback collected from parents in the first two phases, whereas standard clinical information will consist of descriptions of EBP from leading scientific organizations in the field. The effectiveness of the marketing messages will be evaluated using the measure of service quality that was adapted in the first two phases, as well as two measures of behavioral intentions. Taken together, this work will establish the relevance of services marketing theory and methodology to the dissemination of EBP for ASA. Results of the proposed research program have the potential to advance dissemination science by increasing the demand for EBP, which in turn, can increase service utilization and improve the health outcomes of ASA.

Public Health Relevance

Prior efforts to disseminate evidence-based psychotherapy (EBP) for adolescent substance abuse have focused on increasing the supply of EBP in community settings, without considering whether parents will demand the services provided. The current proposal evaluates whether strategies from services marketing, an area of marketing focused on the delivery and evaluation of professional services, can increase parents'demand for EBP. Ultimately, the approach used in this proposal has the potential to advance dissemination science by increasing the utilization of EBP and improving the quality of treatment received by adolescent substance abusers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
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Ducharme, Lori
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Rhode Island Hospital
United States
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Jacobs, Rachel H; Becker, Sara J; Curry, John F et al. (2014) Increasing Positive Outlook Partially Mediates the Effect of Empirically Supported Treatments on Depression Symptoms Among Adolescents. J Cogn Psychother 28:3-19
Becker, Sara J; Curry, John F (2014) Testing the effects of peer socialization versus selection on alcohol and marijuana use among treated adolescents. Subst Use Misuse 49:234-42
Wolff, Jennifer; Esposito-Smythers, Christianne; Becker, Sara et al. (2014) Social-Cognitive Moderators of the Relationship between Peer Victimization and Suicidal Ideation among Psychiatrically Hospitalized Adolescents. J Aggress Maltreat Trauma 23:268-285