Translational Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 125–134 | Cite as

Illustrating idiographic methods for translation research: moderation effects, natural clinical experiments, and complex treatment-by-subgroup interactions

  • Ty A Ridenour
  • Andrea K Wittenborn
  • Bethany R Raiff
  • Neal Benedict
  • Sandra Kane-Gill
Original Research


A critical juncture in translation research involves the preliminary studies of intervention tools, provider training programs, policies, and other mechanisms used to leverage knowledge garnered at one translation stage into another stage. Potentially useful for such studies are rigorous techniques for conducting within-subject clinical trials, which have advanced incrementally over the last decade. However, these methods have largely not been utilized within prevention or translation contexts. The purpose of this manuscript is to demonstrate the flexibility, wide applicability, and rigor of idiographic clinical trials for preliminary testing of intervention mechanisms. Specifically demonstrated are novel uses of state-space modeling for testing intervention mechanisms of short-term outcomes, identifying heterogeneity in and moderation of within-person treatment mechanisms, a horizontal line plot to refine sampling design during the course of a clinic-based experimental study, and the need to test a treatment’s efficacy as treatment is administered along with (e.g., traditional 12-month outcomes).


Trajectory analysis State-space modeling Translation Prevention 



This was an investigator-initiated study funded by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (P50 05605), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R21 061683), an investigator-initiated grant from Hospira, Inc., and Fahs-Beck Fund for Research and Experimentation and the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Dean’s Faculty Fellowship. The funders played no role in the design, conduct, or analysis of the study nor in the interpretation and reporting of the study findings.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Ty Ridenour, Andrea Wittenborn, Bethany Raiff, Neal Benedict, and Sandra Kane-Gill have no conflict of interests to declare regarding the research reported herein.

Adherence to ethical principles

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee, overseen by the institutional review boards of the institutions where the study was conducted, and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Society of Behavioral Medicine 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ty A Ridenour
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrea K Wittenborn
    • 3
  • Bethany R Raiff
    • 4
  • Neal Benedict
    • 2
  • Sandra Kane-Gill
    • 2
  1. 1.RTI, InternationalResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  2. 2.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  4. 4.Rowan UniversityGlassboroUSA

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