Multimethod Formative Research to Improve the Training and Delivery of Tobacco-cessation Interventions in Behavioral Health Settings

Alicia Marie Allen, Myra L Muramoto, Jean Campbell, Timothy E. Connolly, Beverly A. McGuffin, Andrew D. Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction:Despite progress in reducing tobacco use within the general population, high prevalence of tobacco use continues in individuals with mental health and substance use disorders ("clients"). Tobacco use persists as the leading cause of premature mortality in this population. While behavioral health providers have frequent contacts with this population, they lack training in tobacco cessation counseling. Methods: We conducted multimethod formative data collection consisting of key informant interviews with providers, field observations at clinical sites, and structured group interviews with behavioral health providers, and, separately, clients. Activities were conducted at 4 behavioral health agencies with 9 behavioral health clinic sites in southern Arizona. Recurring phrases and level of repetition were quantified to identify themes. These themes were then used to adapt the method of training delivery and revise the curriculum content for providers at the participating sites. Results: Results indicated that providers had "training fatigue" and low satisfaction with multiple, online trainings. Further, providers noted issues including time constraints, competing clinical priorities, and low access to tobacco-cessation materials. Clients demonstrated high self-awareness around the importance of quitting smoking and professed frustration at being unable to quit, despite multiple attempts. Finally, both providers and clients agreed that a personal, supportive approach to cessation counseling was preferred. Conclusions: Using results from this formative research to revise delivery and content of existing smoking-cessation training for behavioral health providers may address barriers to assisting clients with smoking cessation. Additional research to determine the efficacy of the adapted training is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-475
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of addiction medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • behavioral health
  • formative research
  • providers
  • qualitative data
  • smoking cessation
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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