Abstract: Attitudes Towards the Adoption of Evidence-Based Practices Among Latino Mental Health Providers (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Attitudes Towards the Adoption of Evidence-Based Practices Among Latino Mental Health Providers

Thursday, January 12, 2023
Valley of the Sun B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Natalia Giraldo-Santiago, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Background: Growing attention has been given to the adoption and successful implementation of Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) in the US. However, efforts to comprehensively identify and disseminate clinically sound and scientifically based practices and programs in diverse communities and populations have been limited. Mental health (MH) providers and their exposure to EBPs have been an understudied area of research in Puerto Rico (PR). Moreover, differences among social workers, counselors and psychologists across public and private organization have not been examined. This study examined Puerto Rican MH providers' attitudes towards the adoption of EBPs. This study explored various dimensions of overall attitudes towards EBPs with a four-dimensions approach, which included: appeal of EBPs, requirements for the use of EBPs, openness to innovation, and perceived divergence from research. Methods: An ecological perspective was applied to examine individual and organizational level factors –micro and macro— influencing this population attitudes towards EBPs. The researcher hypothesized that psychologists will have more openness toward innovative practices than social workers and counselors; and that providers working in organizations with lower Perceived Organizational Support (POS) will be more likely to diverge from research than providers in organizations with higher levels of POS. A confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) followed a several structural regressions of four criterion variables on a set of covariates were conducted. The fit for the CFA model was (284) = 543.54, p < .001; RMSEA = .062, 90% CI [.054, .070]; CFI = .915; TLI = .902; SRMR = .063. Measures utilized in this study were found reliable to measure attitudes towards EBPs ranging from .68-.91. Results: A sample of 237 MH professionals completed the survey and one open ended question between October-December 2021. R software v4.1 and Mplus v8 were used to conduct a CFA, the power analysis, and structural regressions. Majority of the sample identified as Puerto Ricans (89%), females (83.4%), with a masters (62.9%) or doctorate degree (26.4%). Almost half of the sample were social workers (n=108,45.6%), followed by psychologists (n=69,29.1%) and counselors (n=60,25.3%). Half of the sample (50.6%) reported not knowing how to access EBP related resources. Significant differences were found across professional disciplines in the exposure to EBPs in graduate school and EBP training in their work settings. Greater POS, the absence of training, and being in an urban setting predicted greater divergence from research scores. Meanwhile, being older, male, and married predicted less favorable attitudes of openness to innovation. Graduating from a public institution, having less income, and more years of experience predicted divergence from research and likelihood of adopting an EBP based on their appeal, respectively. Those who perceive EBPs as not suitable for the Puerto Rican population scored higher on divergence from research scores. No differences in any dimension of attitudes were found by professional disciplines. Conclusion: Results shed light on predictors of attitudes towards new practices among Latino MH providers. The lack of exposure to training opportunities was prevalent and concerning. Practice, education, and organizational implications for the implementation of EBPs among Latino samples will be discussed.