Demographic and professional characteristics of child-oriented psychiatrists, psychologists, and clinical social workers with regard to their ethical beliefs
AuthorAllen, Kathleen Rishel
AdvisorMorris, Richard J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study was designed to extend the research on ethical beliefs to child-oriented mental health practitioners. The purpose of the study was to identify the beliefs and practices of psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers regarding confidentiality, competence, and multiple relationships, and to determine whether ethical beliefs vary by profession, gender, or other demographic and professional characteristics. A two-part questionnaire was mailed to 3000 child-oriented psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers regarding their ethical beliefs in the areas of competence, confidentiality, and multiple relationships. A total of 1029 responses were obtained. Part One of the questionnaire addressed demographic and professional information, and Part Two contained 43 behavior description stems. Respondents were asked to indicate the degree to which they felt each behavior was ethical, using a Likert-like scale. Significant (p <.001) differences were obtained between the three professional groups in their beliefs regarding multiple relationships, competence, and the total ethical belief rating. Psychiatrists were the least conservative/most accepting in their ethical belief ratings, social workers were the most conservative/least accepting and psychologists tended to fall in the middle on each measure. In addition, female practitioners endorsed a significantly (p < .001) more conservative viewpoint than did male practitioners in multiple relationships, competence, and total ethical behavior ratings. Although respondents were most in agreement in their respective beliefs about confidentiality, a significant (p < .05) difference was found for gender, with females being more conservative/less accepting than males. In the area of multiple relationships, psychiatrists indicated a greater willingness to engage in relationships such as treating the child of a close friend, and entering into business or social relationships with current or former clients, than either social workers or psychologists. Additionally, respondents as a group were more likely to rate as acceptable breaking confidentiality when working with children than when working with adolescents (p <.001). This study points to the differences, as well as areas of general agreement, in the ethical beliefs of psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers.
Degree ProgramGraduate College