Health Professionals' Attitudes towards Electronic Psychosocial Assessments in Youth Mental Healthcare

Sally Bradford, Debra RICKWOOD, Douglas Boer

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Psychosocial assessments can help mental health professionals establish good therapeutic relationships while simultaneously conducting holistic assessments of their young clients. Using technology to conduct assessments may increase disclosure by young people; however, the uptake of new technologies into current face-to-face practice has been slow. In the current study, we were interested in exploring the attitudes of mental health workers to using an electronic psychosocial assessment tool (e-tool) within face-to-face service delivery with adolescents and young adults. An exploratory design was used to identify and qualitatively describe the views of 46 mental health workers from services across the ACT and Victoria, Australia. Data were coded using an inductive thematic approach. Comments indicated that mental health workers held both positive and negative views about the e-tool. Some participants believed that it would allow disclosure to occur in a stepped process, normalize questions, give youth greater input, and be time efficient. However, the majority believed that the e-tool would infringe on their work because they needed to respond to their clients immediately, it would not provide an accurate representation of the client, young people did not have the necessary capabilities to engage in the process, they would miss non-verbal cues from the young person, and they were more likely to gain information from organic conversations. The results suggest that many mental health professionals may be fearful of incorporating new technologies in current practice. Specific training and supportive implementation guidelines must be developed to support use of these new technologies and change practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1822-1833
Number of pages12
JournalHealth (Irvine)
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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