Education Publications


Practical guidelines and case examples for adapting an evidence-based intervention in a complex community setting

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2022


Progress in Community Health Partnerships






The Problem: Evidence-based interventions (EBIs) are often tested in specific, structured settings, but may need modification to meet the complex needs of vulnerable youth in real-world settings. Nonetheless, past research has not provided practical guidelines to help community partners make decisions about how to adapt EBIs to their settings.

Purpose of Article: We identify barriers in implementing a mental health promotion and violence prevention intervention with youth in a complex community setting to provide practice examples of how the program was adapted to address different challenges. These adaptation decisions are framed within guidelines that are grounded in a wider evidence base.

Key Points: The guidelines underscore the importance of trauma-informed practice, emphasizing confidentiality, tailoring content to meet individual youth's clinical risk and responsivity factors, adjusting dosage and content to meet the group's needs, aligning programming with case planning, being flexible with format, and attending to contextual factors.

Conclusions: EBIs need to be adapted to meet the needs of both individual participants and groups. The guidelines and case examples presented here demonstrate how this adaptation was undertaken in an intentional and evidence-driven way in one agency in the context of a community-based research partnership.

Citation of this paper:

Cwinn, E., Blackman, K., Nandlal, J., & Crooks, C. (accepted for publication, 2022). Progress in Community Health Partnerships.

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