Long-Term Sustainability of Evidence-Based Prevention
Interventions and Community Coalitions Survival: a Five
and One-Half Year Follow-up Study
Published online: 11 April 2017
Society for Prevention Research 2017
Abstract This study examines (1) coalition survival, (2)
prevalence of evidence-based prevention interventions
(EBPIs) to reduce substance abuse implemented as part of
the Tennessee Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) State
Incentive Grant (SIG), (3) EBPI sustainability, and (4) factors
that predict EBPI sustainability. Secondary data were collect-
ed on 27 SPF SIG-funded coalitions and 88 EBPI and non-
EBPI implementations. Primary data were collected by a tele-
phone interview/web survey five and one-half years after the
SPF SIG ended. Results from secondary data show that 25 of
the 27 coalitions survived beyond the SPF SIG for one to five
and one-half years; 19 coalitions (70%) were still active five
and one-half years later. Further, 88 EBPIs and non-EBPIs
were implemented by 27 county SPF SIG coalitions.
Twenty-one (21) of 27 coalitions (78%) implemented one to
three EBPIs, totaling 37 EBPI implementations. Based on
primary survey data on 29 of the 37 EBPI implementations,
28 EBPIs (97%) were sustained between two and five and
one-half years while 22 EBPI implementations (76%) were
sustained for five and one-half years. When controlling for
variability among coalitions (nesting of EBPIs in coalitions),
increases in data resources (availability of five types of pre-
vention data) was a strong predictor of length of EBPI sustain-
ability. Positive change in extramural funding resources and
level of expertise during SPF SIG implementation, as well as
level of coalition formalization at the end of the SPF SIG
predicted EBPI sustainability length. One intervention attri-
bute (trialability) also predicted length of sustainability.
Implications are discussed.
Substance abuse prevention
Understanding (a) the survival of community coalitions which
serve as a major service delivery vehicle for prevention interven-
tions and (b) the sustainability of evidence-based prevention in-
terventions (EBPIs) are among the most significant research and
practice issues facing funders and practitioners (Cooper et al.
2015; Feinberg et al. 2008 Gloppen et al. 2016; Greenberg et al.
2015; Johnson et al. 2013; Scheirer and Dearing 2011). Over the
past three decades, considerable resources have been spent in the
USA and other countries to establish prevention coalitions and
EBPIs (programs, strategies, and policies) to reduce substance
abuse. Muchattentionand many resources have focused on com-
munity coalitions as the key mechanism for implementing EBPIs
at the community level (e.g., Brown et al. 2010; Fagan et al.
2008). Several federal agencies and other organizations have
established registries or databases that list prevention programs
and strategies considered to be evidence-based.
* Knowlton Johnson
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Louisville Center,
Louisville, KY, USA
Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina,
Columbia, SC, USA
Prev Sci (2017) 18:610–621