Concepts of Mental Disorders in Trainee Clinical Psychologists
Read R., Moberly NJ., Salter D., Broome MR.
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Background: The models of mental disorders held by all mental health professionals are implicit in their attitudes and inform all aspects of theory and practice. The present study aims to explore the attitudes of trainee clinical psychologists towards mental disorders by building on a study conducted by Harland et al. () with psychiatrists. In so doing, the present study contributes to an evidence base that can inform the development of clinical training programs and multidisciplinary working. Methods: The Maudsley Attitude Questionnaire was administered in an online survey of trainee clinical psychologists (n = 289). Results: Analyses of variance revealed main effects of model, and of diagnostic category, and a significant interaction effect between model and diagnostic category. Principal component analysis revealed a biological–psychosocial continuum and cognitive/behavioural and psychodynamic/spiritual dimensions. Comparisons with Harland et al.'s () psychiatrists revealed large differences, particularly in biological and social constructionist model endorsement. Conclusion: Results suggest that the attitudes of psychologists and psychiatrists continue to sit at opposite ends of a biological–psychosocial continuum. However, an area of consensus regarding psychotherapeutic models was indicated. Training courses can be reassured that strong opinions tended to reflect the evidence base. Future research with similarly large representative samples from different disciplines would allow findings of the current study to be better contextualized. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Key Practitioner Message: The models of mental disorders held by clinical psychologists are implicit in their attitudes and inform all aspects of theory and practice. We found that trainee clinical psychologists continue to favour psychosocial over biological understandings of mental disorders, giving the cognitive, behavioural and psychodynamic models equal value overall, and stronger attitudes were supported by the evidence base. We found that trainee clinical psychologists organized their attitudes around a biological–psychosocial continuum and cognitive/behavioural and psychodynamic/spiritual dimensions. These findings may be useful for those involved in developing clinical training programs and multidisciplinary working because they provide an insight into the attitudes of emerging clinical psychologists.