Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Center on the Continuum of Care

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Mechanisms of Change

Identifying Mechanisms of Change in Behavioral Interventions

The study of the active ingredients of treatment, or "mediation effects," plays a key role in advancing the knowledge and practice of treatment implementation. Efficacy or effectiveness questions address whether treatment works, while mediation questions address why it works. Investigators in this Center are pursuing several approaches to identifying mediation effects in studies of telephone-based continuing care and other interventions. A recent grant awarded to Kevin G. Lynch, PhD seeks to extend the set of statistical methods that are used by alcohol treatment researchers in studies of the mediation of treatment effects in continuing care interventions. This proposal will develop new statistical methods that test for causal mediation effects accessible to clinical researchers, and will provide software and guidelines to enable such researchers to implement, and evaluate, the methods with their own data.