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Caitlin P. Dolan is a 2019 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee

  • Theodore Ellenhorn, PhD, ABPP, Committee Chair
  • Gina Pasquale, PsyD, Committee Member
  • Barbara Belcher-Timme, PsyD, Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2019

Abstract

Psychological assessment, long a cornerstone of psychological practice, has been the subject of substantial empirical research and clinical devotion. Far less attention, however, has been given to the process of assessment feedback—the task of communicating psychological test results to clients. Research has demonstrated the therapeutic value of providing clients with feedback, including improved insight and functioning. Providing assessment feedback is also mandated by professional standards. Still, to date, there is minimal published research examining the actual feedback practices of psychologists, or their perspectives on such practices. That which does exist focuses on adult testing clients, not children. It is largely unknown how the age of the individual assessed affects the feedback process. This quantitative research was designed to address deficits in knowledge regarding the current feedback practices of psychologists who conduct assessments with children and adolescents, and to gather information on psychologists’ perspectives regarding feedback, including reasons for giving or withholding feedback; their past training in the delivery of feedback; and how the process differs as a function of age. The study developed from an understanding that child directed feedback is often overlooked and underutilized. Child directed feedback is also under researched, and thus a unique data collection instrument was developed. Descriptive and explorative analyses were utilized to test stated hypotheses and examine the research questions. Results suggested that most psychologists are regularly sharing results with parents/caregivers, but less so with assessed minors; this is despite much acknowledgment that feedback can benefit children. Analysis also found that inclusion in feedback differs by age, with younger children much less likely to receive results. Additionally, the frequency of feedback provision was associated with several factors, including psychologists’ utilization of collaborative and therapeutic assessment methods. Past training in feedback to children and adolescents was also examined, with only one third of respondents strongly agreeing that their training was sufficient. This study utilized a descriptive approach, but also aimed to further the discussion on child directed feedback and ultimately motivate psychologists to make more informed decisions. It also demonstrates a commitment to working with children and adolescents in a helpful way. Implications and recommendations are further discussed.

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Caitlin P. Dolan

ORCID Scholar ID# : 0000-0001-5061-1844

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