Attitudes, Perceptions, and Utilization of Evidence-Based Practices in Residential Care

Resid Treat Child Youth. 2015;32(2):144-166. doi: 10.1080/0886571X.2015.1046275. Epub 2015 Jun 9.


This study reports on results of a national survey conducted in the United States about the attitudes, perceptions and utilization of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in residential care settings. Seventy-five of 118 member agencies (63.6% response rate) of a voluntary national residential care association responded to a web-administered structured survey, which included the Evidence-Based Practices Attitude Scale (Aarons, 2004). Results show overwhelmingly positive attitudes toward EBPs. Concerns were reported mainly with regard to cost and impeding a client-driven practice approach. The study also showed a high degree of utilization of EBPs with over 88 percent of programs reporting the use of at least one practice they considered to be evidence-based. Altogether 53 different practices were reported although it is unknown at this point whether practices were delivered with fidelity. Behaviorally-based and trauma-focused interventions constituted the most common interventions used by residential care agencies. Practices were subsequently validated against four national clearinghouse sites, indicating that only slightly over half of all reported practices had been evaluated by at least one clearinghouse and rated as having some research evidence for effectiveness. Divergent views about what practices are evidence-based point to the need for continued discussion between the practice and research fields about conceptualizations of evidence.