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Publication Date


Publication Title

Int J Environ Res Public Health


BACKGROUND: The peer recovery specialist (PRS) workforce has rapidly expanded to increase access to substance-use disorder services for underserved communities. PRSs are not typically trained in evidence-based interventions (EBIs) outside of motivational interviewing, although evidence demonstrates the feasibility of PRS delivery of certain EBIs, such as a brief behavioral intervention, behavioral activation. However, characteristics that predict PRS competency in delivering EBIs such as behavioral activation remain unknown, and are critical for PRS selection, training, and supervision if the PRS role is expanded. This study aimed to explore the outcomes of a brief PRS training period in behavioral activation and identify predictors of competence.

METHOD: Twenty PRSs in the United States completed a two-hour training on PRS-delivered behavioral activation. Participants completed baseline and post-training assessments, including roleplay and assessments of PRS characteristics, attitudes towards EBIs, and theoretically relevant personality constructs. Roleplays were coded for competence (behavioral activation specific and PRS skills more broadly, i.e., PRS competence) and changes were assessed from baseline to post-training. Linear regression models tested factors predicting post-training competence, controlling for baseline competence.

RESULTS: There was a significant pre-post increase in behavioral activation competence (t = -7.02, p < 0.001). Years working as a PRS significantly predicted post-training behavioral activation skills (B = 0.16, p = 0.005). No variables predicted post-training PRS competence.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides preliminary evidence that behavioral activation may be appropriate for dissemination to PRSs through brief trainings, particularly for PRSs with more work experience. However, additional research is needed to examine predictors of competence among PRSs.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; United States; Pilot Projects; Behavior Therapy; Motivational Interviewing

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