Forest Student Publishes Manuscript
Forest doctoral student Gage Stermensky II
and associate professor Peter Jaberg publish "Consumer Attitudes Toward Mental Health Treatment" in Media Psychology Review
The purpose of this study was to identify
consumer knowledge and beliefs towards medical and mental health treatment
providers and facilities, and how these attitudes and beliefs influence
treatment decisions about pharmacological versus cognitive behavioral
interventions for a fictitious disorder.
The researchers created a 67-item survey for the purposes
of this study. The research questions, hypotheses, and current barriers
identified in evaluating modern research on attitudes, stigmatization, and the
like as related to treatment preferences among consumers guided survey
construction. Following inclusion criteria validation, participants answered an
attitudinal portion of the survey consisting of open and closed ended questions
(coded for emergent themes by three independent coders) exploring opinions and
experiences related to medical and mental health treatment (pre-vignette).
Internal consistency was excellent for both the medical (α = 0.75) and mental
health (α = 0.78) scales. Participants then viewed a randomly assigned vignette
in an embedded video file with a post-vignette portion of the survey
(Stermensky, 2011). Following observation of the randomly assigned vignette,
participants completed the treatment preference survey based upon their
understanding of Benson's syndrome. The last section of the survey included
The researchers implemented paired t-tests to test
statistical hypotheses regarding mean preference scores for section one
(familiarity with facility resources and dimensions of care) and section two
(ratings of personnel resources) medical and mental health scores (i.e.,
repeated measures). The mean medical prevignette preference score (M = 5.74, SD
= 7.27) was significantly greater (t  = 1.87, p = < .001) than the mean
mental health prevignette preference score (M = 3.87, SD = 7.27). These results
suggest that participants overall had a more positive attitude towards medical
treatment, staff, and facilities than for mental health resources (d = .26).
Qualitative results supported the quantitative findings. Participants indicated
an amplified level of trust and familiarity with medical treatment facilities.
Participants also indicated side effects, effectiveness, and personal treatment
views as deterrents for psychopharmacological mental health treatments.
Based upon these findings, it would seem the
implementation of national advertising campaigns for evidenced based
psychological practices would increase exposure and create a more informed
consumer population. Whether health professionals, namely psychologists and
physicians advertise jointly or separately, evidenced based information must be
used to fully inform patients of their treatment choices, or else the adequacy
of informed consent is being compromised at every level of care. The authors
discuss implications for advertising, changes to direct to consumer
advertising, and increasing public awareness of evidenced based practices in
behavioral and psychological interventions.