Date of Submission

2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

Second Advisor

Barbara A Golden, PsyD, ABPP

Third Advisor

Scott Glassman, PsyD

Abstract

With millions of Americans suffering from a mental health disorder and slightly more than half receiving treatment, the demand for psychological services far outweighs the number of practitioners available to provide direct care. Therefore, the majority of all primary-care visits are based on psychosocial factors; one third of a PCP’s caseloads consist of patients with mental-health problems. Given the fact that PCPs provide comprehensive psychosocial care, it is important to determine the beliefs and perceptions of their patients. Results from this study identified numerous factors that influence the relationship between patients receiving mental health care from their PCP. Specifically, if a patient believes that he or she has a good relationship with the PCP, he or she is more likely to view the physician as a resource and, therefore, it is probable that the patient will seek guidance and treatment thru the PCP. Additionally, patients are more likely to seek services and discuss mental health concerns with their PCP if they perceive that a positive relationship exists between them. Also, a patient who perceives his or her PCP as empathic and as a resource for mental health is more likely to continue with mental health services as well as have better treatment results. Should a patient hold these perceptions and beliefs of his or her PCP, the patient is more likely to seek treatment, less likely to drop out of services and have overall better clinical outcomes. Results of this study highlight the need for additional education regarding the factors that contribute to positive clinical outcomes when treating patients with mental health concerns.