Multilevel Mechanisms of Implementation Strategies in Mental Health: Integrating Theory, Research, and Practice

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A step toward the development of optimally effective, efficient, and feasible implementation strategies that increase evidence-based treatment integration in mental health services involves identification of the multilevel mechanisms through which these strategies influence implementation outcomes. This article (a) provides an orientation to, and rationale for, consideration of multilevel mediating mechanisms in implementation trials, and (b) systematically reviews randomized controlled trials that examined mediators of implementation strategies in mental health. Nine trials were located. Mediation-related methodological deficiencies were prevalent and no trials supported a hypothesized mediator. The most common reason was failure to engage the mediation target. Discussion focuses on directions to accelerate implementation strategy development in mental health.