Behavioral counseling interventions can address significant causes of preventable morbidity and mortality. However, despite a growing evidence base for behavioral counseling interventions, there remain significant research gaps that limit translating the evidence into clinical practice. Using U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) examples, we address how researchers and funders can move the research portfolio forward to achieve better application of behavioral counseling interventions to address substantial health burdens in the U.S. This paper describes the types of gaps that the USPSTF encounters across its behavioral counseling intervention topics and provides suggestions for opportunities to address these gaps to enhance the evidence base for primary care-based behavioral counseling recommendations. To accomplish this, we draw from both the USPSTF experience and issues identified by researchers and clinicians during the USPSTF-sponsored Behavioral Counseling Intervention Forum. We also discuss the dilemma posed by having "insufficient" evidence with which to make a behavioral counseling intervention-related recommendation, and describe two case examples (screening for alcohol misuse in adolescence and screening for child maltreatment), detailing the research gaps that remain. Recommendations are outlined for researchers, funders, and practice implementers to improve behavioral counseling intervention research and application.
Kurth, A. E., Miller, T. L., Woo, M., & Davidson, K. W. (2015). Understanding Research Gaps and Priorities for Improving Behavioral Counseling Interventions: Lessons Learned From the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 49(3), S158–S165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2015.06.007