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Afshan Afsahi is a 2014 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee

  • Roger L. Peterson, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Susan Hawes, Ph.D. Committee Member
  • David Hamolsky, Psy.D. Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Technological advancements have had positive and negative effects on the clinical practice of psychology. Increasing use of social networking websites has created new ethical issues concerning privacy and confidentiality, professionalism, and therapeutic boundaries. Due to the ever-changing nature of social media, there are no clear practice rules or guidelines set by the American Psychological Association (APA) for psychologists’ use of the Internet and social networks. This research took a closer look at psychology graduate students and psychologists’ use of privacy settings; their awareness, beliefs, and practices as they relate to their own and others’ online behaviors; their preparedness to have discussions with their clients about how they handle online “friend requests;” whether they are more likely to engage in online behaviors if they work with a younger population; and whether or not psychologists have developed their own ethical professional policy or they believe the APA should implement policies regarding psychologists’ use of social network. A total of 486 individuals visited the website for the survey and 445 participants completed the survey. Of the 445 participants, 22% (99) were male and 78% (346) were female. The mean age of participants in this study was 37.13, with ages ranging from 21 to 72. Approximately 86% (383) of participants reported that they maintain a personal profile on a social networking website, and 14% (61) of participants reported that they do not maintain a personal profile. This research seeks to inform better use of social networking websites such as Facebook by psychologists through an online survey.

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