The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) aims to prevent suicide, harassment, sexual assault, and partner and child maltreatment by implementing evidence-based behavioral health interventions (EBIs). However, sustaining EBI implementation over time and with fidelity to result in meaningful impacts is a tremendous challenge. We interviewed 35 military leaders in positions to observe, and possibly hinder, the erosions of EBI implementations to learn what distinguishes EBIs that sustain in the military from those that fade away. Thematic analysis identified barriers and supports to EBI sustainment consistent with the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research, reflecting the domains: outer setting, inner setting, individuals, and innovation. Participants described how factors at different levels of the social ecology interact with each other and emphasized how aspects of military culture (e.g., hierarchical structure, frequent moves, mission focus) can both support and challenge implementing and sustaining behavioral-health EBIs. EBI implementation in the military differs from most civilian settings in that service member participation in certain preventative programs is mandated. The results indicate how policy and practice can strengthen sustained EBI implementation to reduce harm and support service members.
- Evidence-based interventions
- implementation science
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)