A Systematic Review of Strategies for Implementing Empirically Supported Mental Health Interventions

Res Soc Work Pract. 2014 Mar 1;24(2):192-212. doi: 10.1177/1049731513505778.


Objective: This systematic review examines experimental studies that test the effectiveness of strategies intended to integrate empirically supported mental health interventions into routine care settings. Our goal was to characterize the state of the literature and to provide direction for future implementation studies.

Methods: A literature search was conducted using electronic databases and a manual search.

Results: Eleven studies were identified that tested implementation strategies with a randomized (n = 10) or controlled clinical trial design (n = 1). The wide range of clinical interventions, implementation strategies, and outcomes evaluated precluded meta-analysis. However, the majority of studies (n = 7; 64%) found a statistically significant effect in the hypothesized direction for at least one implementation or clinical outcome.

Conclusions: There is a clear need for more rigorous research on the effectiveness of implementation strategies, and we provide several suggestions that could improve this research area.

Keywords: empirically supported interventions; evidence-based treatments; implementation research; implementation strategies; mental health services research.