The Compatibility of Clinical Child Mental Health Treatment and Evidence-Based Treatment Protocols

Stephen P.H. Whiteside, Jarrod M. Leffler, Melissa K. Hord, Leslie A. Sim, Michele M. Schmidt, Jennifer R. Geske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Few children with mental health problems receive evidence-based psychotherapy, partly because of unsuccessful dissemination of evidence-based treatments (EBTs). Previous research suggests that the length and structure of EBT protocols for anxiety disorders may impede their adoption in community practice. To examine the potential discrepancy between EBT protocols and clinical practice across disorders, we examined patient diagnoses and average length of treatment for childhood psychiatric disorders in a regional medical center where child and adolescent patients from the community have access to mental health care. The findings suggest that although a large portion of youth seeking mental health care presented with symptoms consistent with those addressed by common evidence-based psychotherapy protocols, less than half of these patients ever met with a therapist and less than 10% of those attended a sufficient number of sessions to complete a full treatment protocol. These results underscore the need to develop brief and flexible EBT protocols, such as modular treatments, that introduce essential elements early in the course of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychological Services
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 16 2018


  • Child
  • Community care
  • Health system data
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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