BACKGROUND: In healthcare and allied healthcare settings, leadership that supports effective implementation of evidenced-based practices (EBPs) is a critical concern. However, there are no empirically validated measures to assess implementation leadership. This paper describes the development, factor structure, and initial reliability and convergent and discriminant validity of a very brief measure of implementation leadership: the Implementation Leadership Scale (ILS). METHODS: Participants were 459 mental health clinicians working in 93 different outpatient mental health programs in Southern California, USA. Initial item development was supported as part of a two United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) studies focused on developing implementation leadership training and implementation measure development. Clinician work group/team-level data were randomly assigned to be utilized for an exploratory factor analysis (n = 229; k = 46 teams) or for a confirmatory factor analysis (n = 230; k = 47 teams). The confirmatory factor analysis controlled for the multilevel, nested data structure. Reliability and validity analyses were then conducted with the full sample. RESULTS: The exploratory factor analysis resulted in a 12-item scale with four subscales representing proactive leadership, knowledgeable leadership, supportive leadership, and perseverant leadership. Confirmatory factor analysis supported an a priori higher order factor structure with subscales contributing to a single higher order implementation leadership factor. The scale demonstrated excellent internal consistency reliability as well as convergent and discriminant validity. CONCLUSIONS: The ILS is a brief and efficient measure of unit level leadership for EBP implementation. The availability of the ILS will allow researchers to assess strategic leadership for implementation in order to advance understanding of leadership as a predictor of organizational context for implementation. The ILS also holds promise as a tool for leader and organizational development to improve EBP implementation.
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