Organizational Context and Individual Adaptability in Promoting Perceived Importance and Use of Best Practices for Substance Use

  • Danica K. KnightEmail author
  • George W. Joe
  • David T. Morse
  • Corey Smith
  • Hannah Knudsen
  • Ingrid Johnson
  • Gail A. Wasserman
  • Nancy Arrigona
  • Larkin S. McReynolds
  • Jennifer E. Becan
  • Carl Leukefeld
  • Tisha R. A. Wiley


This study examines associations among organizational context, staff attributes, perceived importance, and use of best practices among staff in community-based, juvenile justice (JJ) agencies. As part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Juvenile Justice—Translational Research on Interventions for Adolescents in the Legal System (JJ-TRIALS) study, 492 staff from 36 JJ agencies were surveyed about the perceived importance and use of best practices within their organization in five substance use practice domains: screening, assessment, standard referral, active referral, and treatment support. Structural equation models indicated that supervisory encouragement and organizational innovation/flexibility were associated with greater individual adaptability. Adaptability (willingness to try new ideas, use new procedures, adjust quickly to change), was positively correlated with importance ratings. Importance ratings were positively associated with reported use of best practices. Organizational climates that support innovation likely affect use of practices through staff attributes and perceptions of the importance of such services.



The authors would like to thank the members of the JJ-TRIALS Cooperative for their dedication to the project and assistance with study protocol implementation. The contributions of members of the Measurement and Data Management—Staff Survey Workgroup were particularly beneficial (in addition to several authors, these individuals include Doris Weiland, Jessica Sales, and Wayne Welsh). We would also like to thank the individuals at each site who invested time and effort on this project and worked collaboratively with research staff to ensure quality data.

Funding Information

This study was funded under the JJ-TRIALS cooperative agreement, funded at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The authors gratefully acknowledge the collaborative contributions of NIDA and support from the following grant awards: Chestnut Health Systems (U01DA036221), Columbia University (U01DA036226), Emory University (U01DA036233), Mississippi State University (U01DA036176), Temple University (U01DA036225), Texas Christian University (U01DA036224), and University of Kentucky (U01DA036158). The NIDA Science Officer on this project is Tisha Wiley. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIDA, NIH, or the participating universities or JJ systems.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© National Council for Behavioral Health 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danica K. Knight
    • 1
    Email author
  • George W. Joe
    • 1
  • David T. Morse
    • 2
  • Corey Smith
    • 3
  • Hannah Knudsen
    • 4
  • Ingrid Johnson
    • 5
  • Gail A. Wasserman
    • 6
  • Nancy Arrigona
    • 7
  • Larkin S. McReynolds
    • 6
  • Jennifer E. Becan
    • 1
  • Carl Leukefeld
    • 4
  • Tisha R. A. Wiley
    • 8
  1. 1.Institute of Behavioral ResearchTexas Christian UniversityFort WorthUSA
  2. 2.Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and FoundationsMississippi State UniversityStarkvilleUSA
  3. 3.Lighthouse InstituteChestnut Health SystemsNormalUSA
  4. 4.Behavioral ScienceUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Criminal JusticeTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.Center for the Promotion of Mental Health in Juvenile JusticeColumbia University/NYSPINew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Council of State Governments Justice CenterAustinUSA
  8. 8.National Institute on Drug AbuseBethesdaUSA

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