Illustrating idiographic methods for translation research: moderation effects, natural clinical experiments, and complex treatment-by-subgroup interactions
A critical juncture in translation research involves the preliminary studies of intervention tools, provider training programs, policies, and other mechanisms used to leverage knowledge garnered at one translation stage into another stage. Potentially useful for such studies are rigorous techniques for conducting within-subject clinical trials, which have advanced incrementally over the last decade. However, these methods have largely not been utilized within prevention or translation contexts. The purpose of this manuscript is to demonstrate the flexibility, wide applicability, and rigor of idiographic clinical trials for preliminary testing of intervention mechanisms. Specifically demonstrated are novel uses of state-space modeling for testing intervention mechanisms of short-term outcomes, identifying heterogeneity in and moderation of within-person treatment mechanisms, a horizontal line plot to refine sampling design during the course of a clinic-based experimental study, and the need to test a treatment's efficacy as treatment is administered along with (e.g., traditional 12-month outcomes).