Uses of research evidence by state legislators who prioritize behavioral health issues

Jonathan Purtle, Elizabeth A. Dodson, Ross C. Brownson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Disseminating behavioral health (BH) research t elected policy makers is a priority, but little is known abou how they use and seek research evidence. This explorator study aimed to identify research dissemination preference and research-seeking practices of legislators who prioritiz BH issues and to describe the role of research in determinin policy priorities. The study also assessed whether thes legislators differ from those who do not prioritize BH issues Methods: A telephone-based survey was conducted wit 862 state legislators (response rate, 46%). A validated surve instrument assessed priorities and the factors that determine them, research dissemination preferences, an research-seeking practices. Bivariate analyses were used t characterize and compare the two groups Results: Legislators who prioritized BH issues (N=125) wer significantly more likely than those who did not to identif research evidence as a factor that determined policy prioritie (odds ratio=1.91, 95% confidence interval=1.25-2.90, p=.002) ThosewhoprioritizedBHissues also attributed more importanc to ten of 12 features of research, and the difference was significan for four features (unbiased, p=.014; presented in a concis way, p=.044; delivered by someone known or respected p=.033; and tells a story, p=.030). Those who prioritized BH issue also engaged more often in eight of 11 research-seekin and utilization practices, and a significance difference was foun for one (attending research presentations, p=.012) Conclusions: Legislators who prioritized BH issues activel sought, had distinct preferences for, and were particularl influenced by research evidence. Testing legislator-focuse BH research dissemination strategies is an area for futur research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1355-1361
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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