Replicating an evidence-based model in Northern Ireland
: an exploration of the influence of staff characterisitics on family outcomes within MST

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctorate in Childhood Studies


Despite the potential of EBPs to enhance outcomes for children and young people at risk of care or custody, there is a paucity of research related to the role of staff in helping to achieve these outcomes. Implementation scientists suggest that role of practitioners and a nuanced understanding of their characteristics have been underevaluated to date.
The aim of this study was to examine the role of staff characteristics on programme outcomes within the context of two Multisystemic Therapy (MST) replication sites in Northern Ireland.

The methodology was influenced by a pragmatic approach to research and therefore employed both quantitative and qualities methods to explore the research questions. This involved the collation and analysis of routinely collected data from across 101 families who were supported by 13 MST therapists; the collection of openness measures using standardised questions; and the individual interview of 11 therapists.

The research found that recruitment is a critical aspect of implementation but a two way screening process may be needed to actively engage candidates in the selection process. Whilst organisations may attempt to identify those who are a good fit for the chosen EBP, more efforts are needed to help candidates decide if the specific model is a good fit for them. In addition, the findings of this research found that younger staff who had less professional experience were more likely to adhere to the fidelity of the model and achieve more positive for families as were those who held higher degrees.

The study concludes by making several recommendations for replication sites, particularly within the area of screening and also suggests areas for further research within this area.
Date of AwardDec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorGavin Davidson (Supervisor), Gavin Davidson (Supervisor) & Anne Campbell (Supervisor)

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