Moving the field of prevention from science to service: Integrating evidence-based preventive interventions into community practice through adapted and adaptive models

Gerald August, Abigail Gewirtz, George M Realmuto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The article addresses the adaptation of evidence-based prevention and positive youth development programs for community use. Two complementary approaches for adapting programs are described. In the " adapted" approach, programs are modified to accommodate the culture, climate, and operations of the organization delivering the program. In the " adaptive" approach, programs are modified to accommodate the characteristics, needs and preferences of the individual or family receiving the program. Two examples are provided that illustrate how both adapted and adaptive intervention strategies have been incorporated by community practitioners into the implementation of the Early Risers conduct problems prevention program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-85
Number of pages14
JournalApplied and Preventive Psychology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
In 2005, the RE-1 school district in Cortez, Colorado contacted the Early Risers program developers and inquired into adoption of the program. As program developers our initial task was to determine whether the program was suitable for local need and whether the school district had sufficient capacity to deliver the program (guiding principle #3). Cortez is a rural community populated by families who are culturally diverse and economically disadvantaged (including two Native American tribes). The needs of the community are significant, with the local school district reporting some of the lowest scores in the state on the Colorado Student Assessment Program and an alarmingly high student dropout rate. The decision to adopt Early Risers was championed by a program director serving a family resource center in the county (The Pinon Project). 1 1 The Pinon Project provides a broad range of family and early childhood programs to the county with a focus on prevention and early intervention. The program director was able to rally support for this program through presentations to the school board and meetings with school administration and teaching staff. The decision to adopt was strongly based on the program's evidence base as well as the program's commitment to serve families as part of the intervention. Once need and capacity were verified, the next step was to formalize a partnership to govern program implementation (guiding principle #4). Subsequently, the program director participated in a training program that qualified her to train local implementers (guiding principle #5). The initial implementation of the program was conducted in one elementary school with financial support provided through a local grant. Funding was received from the state of Colorado Department of Human Services using federal substance abuse block grant dollars for the development of a family-focused prevention program. The grant funded one full time equivalent (FTE) family advocate position, materials, training, costs to cover Family Nights, and supervisory time. The Pinon Project targeted Montezuma County to receive services. The targeted group to be served consisted of high-risk families with children in the 6–10 years of age range who were at risk for the early development of conduct disorders.


  • Adapted model
  • Adaptive model
  • Fidelity
  • Implementation
  • Prevention


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