Trends and Opportunities for Bridging Prevention Science and US Federal Policy

J. Taylor Scott, Sarah Prendergast, Elizabeth Demeusy, Kristina McGuire, Max Crowley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Prevention science sheds light on complex social policy problems, yet its social impact cannot reach full potential without the uptake of research evidence by policymakers. This mixed-methods study examined the US federal legislation pertaining to justice-involved youth to reveal opportunities for strengthening the use of prevention science in legislation. The results indicated that research language, particularly references to the type of study (e.g., longitudinal) or methodology (e.g., data mining), within bills predicted bill progression out of committee and enactment. Rigorous scientific methods may either lend credence to a bill during its progression in the legislative process or may be infused in language during mark-up and negotiation of bills that successfully progress in Congress. In-depth bill coding illustrated the ways that research has been used in legislation to define problems, reinforce effective practice, generate knowledge through research and evaluation, and disseminate findings. A prominent implication of these findings is that policies could be used to improve data monitoring and evaluation capacity in ways that enhance the implementation of evidence-based interventions. The comprehensive use of research in legislation increases the likelihood that policies reach their intended outcomes and benefit those they are designed to serve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1333-1342
Number of pages10
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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