Thematic analysis of youth mental health providers' perceptions of neuropsychological assessment services

Garance Delagneau, Stephen C. Bowden, Shayden Bryce, Kristi van-der-EL, Matthew Hamilton, Sophie Adams, Liz Burgat, Eoin Killackey, Debra Rickwood, Kelly Allott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: A growing number of quantitative studies have investigated the utility of neuropsychological assessment in mental health settings. However, to the best of our knowledge, no previous study has qualitatively explored youth mental health providers' perceptions of neuropsychological assessment services. A more in-depth understanding of the perceived advantages and barriers associated with neuropsychological assessment in youth mental health settings is critical to better inform policy, practice and service uptake. Thus, the aim of this study was to qualitatively explore clinicians' views about neuropsychological assessments for youth with mental health concerns. Methods: A single open-ended qualitative question, included as part of an anonymous cross-sectional online survey, was completed by clinicians (N = 206) treating or assessing adolescents and young adults within Australian primary care mental health centres (headspace). Responses were analysed using an inductive approach to thematic analysis. Results: Five main themes were identified. Clinicians (a) identified barriers to accessing neuropsychological assessments (53%), (b) indicated a range of mixed outcomes following neuropsychological assessment (39%), (c) highlighted a need for neuropsychological assessments (22%), (d) reported a lack of awareness about this resource (10%) and (e) described practice issues associated with neuropsychological services (4%). Conclusion: This study uncovered perceived factors contributing to reduced access to neuropsychological assessment in Australian youth mental health settings. Given potential adverse outcomes resulting from this clinical service gap, efforts should be made to address factors contributing to poorer access, thereby mitigating the impact of poor access on the management of mental illness in youth. Several strategies, including funding neuropsychological assessments, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-227
Number of pages8
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


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