Study finds psychologists uninformed about psychology prescribing issues, most won’t pursue training

Study finds psychologists uninformed about psychology prescribing issues, most won’t pursue training

What Oregon Psychologists Think and Know About Prescriptive Authority: Divided Views and Data-Driven Change” was published by the Journal of Applied Biobehaivoral Reseach on 9-7-16.  This study builds on previous research about psychologist prescription privileges (RxP), which has focused somewhat narrowly on whether psychologists support RxP.  The current study was done shortly after an RxP bill in Oregon was debated, passed and subsequently vetoed, and it would be expected that Oregon psychologists would have been exposed to RxP issues.

The study had a higher response rate than previous RxP studies, asked broader questions including questions about knowledge of RxP issues, and included an informational “intervention” for part of the respondents.  The authors conclude:

In contrast to ardent supporters who argue that their “data should provide reassurance to psychologists spearheading legislative initiatives” because of high approval ratings (Sammons et al., 2000, p. 608), our data suggest disagreement among a group of professionals who are not particularly well-informed, nor willing to undergo training to become a prescriber. Our relatively high response rate in comparison with past surveys (e.g., 21% in Sammons et al.) may explain the greater discrepancy in expressed views, given that a broader range of views were surveyed. Overall, these findings suggest that legislative efforts should be mindful of the controversy within the field and the low numbers of professionals interested in pursuing prescription privileges which undercut arguments that granting psychologists prescriptive authority will lead to improved access and enhanced patient care.

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