Examining the Highs and Lows of the Collaborative Relationship Between Technical Assistance Providers and Prevention Implementers

Prev Sci. 2018 Feb;19(2):250-259. doi: 10.1007/s11121-017-0812-2.


The PROSPER model uses a three-tiered community partnership, university researcher, and Cooperative Extension-based technical assistance system to support the delivery of evidence-based interventions in communities. This study examines the trajectory and predictors of the collaborative relationship between technical assistance providers and community teams across the three phases of organization, implementation, and sustainability. Members of 14 PROmoting School-university-community Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER) community teams and directors of local agencies rated communities' levels of readiness and adolescent substance use norms. Technical assistance providers rated their collaborative relationship with their teams at 14 occasions across 4.5 years. Results from mixed models show that levels of collaboration were stable until the sustainability phase, when they increased significantly. Team differences in change were significant during the implementation phase. Community readiness predicted levels of the collaborative relationship over time: high community readiness was associated with a high level of collaboration during organization, but a decline in collaboration during implementation. These results provide a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between technical assistance provision and community prevention teams and lead to recommendations to improve dissemination models to achieve a greater public health impact.

Keywords: Collaboration; Community prevention system; Longitudinal analysis; Multi-level modeling; Technical assistance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Networks*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Planning Technical Assistance*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preventive Health Services*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Young Adult