Document Type

Psychiatry Issue Brief

Publication Date





A Spanish translation of this publication is available to download under "Additional Files" below.

One widely accepted definition of Evidence Based Practices (EBPs) is that they are interventions for which scientific evidence consistently shows that the practice improves client outcomes.EBPs rely on the classifications of research studies and findings according to a variety of evidence. In general, the highest standard requires evidence from several Randomized Clinical Trials (RCTs) by multiple teams of investigators comparing the practice to alternative practices or to no intervention. EBPs provide evidence of effective treatments or services based on rigorous research approaches that include randomization, control groups, studies with matched participants, blinding of service providers (so they are unaware of study participants or the treatment each individual receives), statistical analysis (often meta-analysis), and drawing accurate conclusions from study results. This Issue Brief describes advantages and disadvantages of identifying menal health services as EBPS, and provides recommendations for policy makers, researchers, and service providers.

This Issue Brief, originally published in August 2007, was revised with new information in January 2017.

Subject Area

Education and Training, Policy, Rehabilitation/Recovery, Service Systems


evidence based practices, EBPs, mental health services, Spanish

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Copyright © University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.



Email the Authors

Colleen E. McKay