Attitudes Toward Adoption of Evidence-Based Practices: A Comparison of Autism Early Intervention Providers and Children's Mental Health Providers

Aubyn Stahmer, Gregory A. Aarons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations


Across the country, states are reporting increases in the number of children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) served each year in the early intervention system. Research examining factors impacting the successful dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) into service systems for these children is limited. Preliminary information indicates that adoption of EBPs is variable. Provider attitudes toward the adoption of EBPs may be one factor that limits or facilitates implementation of efficacious treatments and these attitudes vary by organizational context and provider individual differences. The current study examines cross-context differences in provider attitudes toward EBPs by comparing the attitudes of 71 education-based early intervention providers working with children with ASD to the attitudes of 238 mental health providers in the public mental health system. This provides the first examination of ASD early intervention provider attitudes toward EBP. Results indicated that early intervention providers reported significantly more favorable attitudes toward adopting EBPs than did mental health providers. Early intervention providers with extended experience in the field perceived less divergence between their current practice and EBPs. Implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-234
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Services
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009



  • attitudes
  • autism
  • early intervention
  • evidence-based practice
  • mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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