Effects of Primary Care Provider Characteristics on Changes in Behavioral Health Delivery During a Collaborative Care Trial

Acad Pediatr. 2020 Apr;20(3):399-404. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2019.11.008. Epub 2019 Nov 21.


Objective: Pediatric primary care providers (PCPs) are increasingly expected to deliver behavioral health (BH) services, yet PCP characteristics that facilitate or hinder BH service delivery are poorly understood. This study examined how PCP characteristics and collaborative care participation influenced changes in BH-related effort and competency over time.

Methods: Pediatric PCPs (N = 74) participating in a cluster randomized trial (8 practices) of a collaborative care intervention for disruptive behavior problems completed self-report measures at 0, 6, 12, and 18 months. Latent growth curve models tested the impact of PCP characteristics (ie, age, gender, negative BH beliefs, BH burden, BH competency) on changes in identification/treatment of disruptive behavior disorders and competency over the course of the trial.

Results: Participation in collaborative care was associated with increases in identification/treatment, with no evidence that PCP characteristics moderated changes in identification/treatment. For competency, however, older PCPs (>50 years) in collaborative care exhibited steep increases over time, while older PCPs in the comparison condition exhibited steep decreases, suggesting differential benefits of collaborative care participation by PCP age. In both conditions, PCPs with more negative BH beliefs reported less identification/treatment over time. Baseline competency was positively associated with identification/treatment and associations weakened over time. Gender and perceived burden had little impact.

Conclusions: PCP characteristics are associated with changes in PCPs' BH-related effort and competency over time. Participation in a collaborative care model appears to be especially beneficial for older PCPs. Implementation of collaborative care can promote growth in BH-related effort and competency for PCPs.

Keywords: behavioral health; collaborative care; pediatrics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders* / therapy
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Competence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intersectoral Collaboration*
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*