Testing the 4Rs and 2Ss Multiple Family Group intervention: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Mary Acri, Emily Hamovitch, Maria Mini, Elene Garay, Claire Connolly, Mary McKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a major mental health concern and highly prevalent among children living in poverty-impacted communities. Despite that treatments for ODD are among the most effective, few children living in poverty receive these services due to substantial barriers to access, as well as difficulties in the uptake and sustained adoption of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in community settings. The purpose of this study is to examine implementation processes that impact uptake of an evidence-based practice for childhood ODD, and the impact of a Clinic Implementation Team (CIT)-driven structured adaptation to enhance its fit within the public mental health clinic setting. Methods/design: This study, a Hybrid Type II effectiveness-implementation research trial, blends clinical effectiveness and implementation research methods to examine the impact of the 4Rs and 2Ss Multiple Family Group (MFG) intervention, family level mediators of child outcomes, clinic/provider-level mediators of implementation, and the impact of CITs on uptake and long-term utilization of this model. All New York City public outpatient mental health clinics have been invited to participate. A sampling procedure that included randomization at the agency level and a sub-study to examine the impact of clinic choice upon outcomes yielded a distribution of clinics across three study conditions. Quantitative data measuring child outcomes, organizational factors and implementation fidelity will be collected from caregivers and providers at baseline, 8, and 16weeks from baseline, and 6months from treatment completion. The expected participation is 134 clinics, 268 providers, and 2688 caregiver/child dyads. We will use mediation analysis with a multi-level Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) (MSEM including family level variables, provider variables, and clinic variables), as well as mediation tests to examine study hypotheses. Discussion: The aim of the study is to generate knowledge about effectiveness and mediating factors in the treatment of ODDs in children in the context of family functioning, and to propose an innovative approach to the adaptation and implementation of new treatment interventions within clinic settings. The proposed CIT adaptation and implementation model has the potential to enhance implementation and sustainability, and ultimately increase the extent to which effective interventions are available and can impact children and families in need of services for serious behavior problems. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT02715414. Registered on 3 March 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Article number588
Issue number1
StatePublished - 4 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Child mental health
  • Family functioning
  • Implementation and sustainability
  • Oppositional defiant disorder


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