College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

A standardized method of preventing and managing emergencies within the context of evidence based therapy implementation

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2012

Publication Title

Behavior Modification

ISSN

0145-4455

Volume

36

Abstract

Families served within child welfare settings evidence a wide range of emergencies or unexpected crises or circumstances that may lead to danger and make it difficult for them to focus on treatment planning. Mental health treatment providers are often unprepared to effectively manage emergencies during implementation of evidence-based prescribed therapy sessions. In this study, the authors empirically developed a standardized intervention to assist mental health providers in emergency prevention and management (EPM) with their clients. EPM includes assessment of emergent conditions and a self-control procedure that may be utilized by consumers to prevent or resolve emergencies. EPM responses of 26 mothers referred by Child Protective Services for 6 months of evidence-supported treatment were examined. Relevant to clinical utility, the results indicated that providers implemented EPM in a little more than half (56.9%) of their treatment sessions, and all emergencies assessed in EPM were endorsed by at least 8% of the sample throughout their treatment. EPM was implemented with fidelity according to service providers, and corroborated by blind raters. Participants were found to be compliant and satisfied with EPM. The average number of emergencies endorsed over the course of EPM administrations was negatively correlated with the frequency of EPM administrations, suggesting that EPM may have helped reduce emergencies. Pretreatment factors (e.g., household income, child abuse potential, family functioning, parental stress, child behavior problems, number of days child removed from home) and hard drug use (but not marijuana or alcohol) during treatment were associated with the number of emergencies reported by participants.

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