Allison Metz, Ph.D., is a developmental psychologist with expertise in child development and family systems and a commitment to improving child and family outcomes and advancing equity. Allison is Professor of the Practice and Director of Implementation Practice at the School of Social Work, and Adjunct Professor at the School of Global Public Health at The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the School of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin. Allison previously served as Director of the National Implementation Research Network. Allison is co-chair of the Institute on Implementation Practice and founding director of the Collaborative for Implementation Practice at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work.
The research aim is to assess the feasibility and acceptability of developing and delivering a training and coaching intervention with implementation teams to build team cohesion, psychological safety, and trust, in order to increase capability, opportunity, and motivation to use evidence, and to enhance commitment and resilience for implementation. The setting is a public child welfare system in the United States implementing a statewide, evidence-based peer-to-peer mentoring model for youth in foster care. Implementation teams include service providers, public system leadership, and youth.
This study employs mixed-methods with a single-case design component. Participants consider hypothesized mechanisms (capability, opportunity, motivation; commitment and resilience) linking trust with improved implementation. Our analytic sample was comprised of 15 individuals (88 total observations; average of 5.9 data-points per participant) who participated in the full course of trust-building training activities. We employed multilevel mixed-effects linear regression to assess change over time in participants’ (a) perceptions that team members trusted them (8 items; α = 0.91) and (b) reports of their own trust toward team members (8 items; α = 0.86). We also completed and qualitatively analyzed in-depth interviews (n=7).
On average, participants reported significant increases over time in their perceptions that they were trusted by their team (b = 0.31 units, p < .05). In addition, on average, participants reported statistically negligible increases over time in the trust they had for their team (b = 0.07 units, p = .63). Results from the qualitative analysis foregrounded themes related to addressing power differentials, making space for trust building, and the contribution of trust to commitment and motivation for implementation.
This study demonstrates the feasibility of implementing a trust building intervention and developing skills of implementation stakeholders to foster trust among each other. Findings also emphasize the role of trust in contributing to implementation progress in complex systems.