Fidelity Decision Making in Social and Behavioral Research: Alternative Measures of Dose and Other Considerations.
This article advances the discussion of treatment fidelity in social and behavioral intervention research by analyzing fidelity in an intervention study conducted within participating long-term care settings of the Collaborative Studies of Long-Term Care. The authors used the Behavior Change Consortium's (BCC) best practices for enhancing treatment fidelity recommendations in the areas of study design, provider training, treatment delivery, treatment receipt, and treatment enactment to evaluate fidelity-related decisions. Modifications to the original fidelity strategies were necessary in all areas. The authors revised their dose score and compared it with two constructed alternative measures of fidelity. Testing alternative measures and selecting the best measure post hoc allowed them to observe chance differences in relationship to outcomes. When the end result is to translate behavioral interventions into real practice settings, it is clear that some degree of flexibility is needed to ensure optimal delivery. Based on the relationship of program elements to the outcomes, a multicomponent intervention dose measure was more appropriate than one related to individual elements alone. By assessing the extent to which their strategies aligned with the BCC recommendations, the authors offer an opportunity for social work researchers to learn from their challenges and decision-making process to maximize fidelity.
Washington, T; Zimmerman, S; Cagle, J; Reed, D; Cohen, L; Beeber, AS; Gwyther, LP
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