College of Psychology Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PhD)

Department

Center for Psychological Studies

First Advisor

William I Dorfman

Second Advisor

Christian DeLucia

Third Advisor

Barry A Schneider

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess General Practitioners' (GPs') and medical students' attitudes towards psychologists seeking prescription privileges and their willingness to refer patients to these professionals, as well as factors relating to these variables. Three hundred and thirty-eight GPs from a national sample, and 48 medical students from a private medical school in the southeastern United States participated in this online study. Participants were divided into two experimental groups, with one group receiving additional information regarding the educational and training experiences of prescribing psychologists and one group receiving no additional information. Participants completed a survey, which assessed: demographic variables, attitudes, referral behaviors, and personality factors. It was predicted that participants receiving additional information prior to survey completion would have more favorable attitudes and referral behaviors than those who did not receive the information. This prediction was confirmed for participants' attitudes, but not referral behaviors. Results also indicated that the majority of participants held unfavorable attitudes towards prescribing psychologists and were generally unwilling to refer patients to these professionals. However, contrary to the research hypothesis, GPs were found to have more favorable attitudes and referral behaviors than medical students. Additionally, analyses were conducted in order to use multiple variables (e.g., information condition, participant type, gender, age, practice setting, location, openness score) to predict participants' attitudes and referral behaviors. However, these factors were only found to account for a very small percentage of participants' attitudes and referral behaviors. In light of this study's results, future research is needed in order to further explore factors related to attitudes and referral behaviors of GPs. Future research should also investigate ways to improve communication and collaboration between medical professionals and psychologists.

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