Clinical Psychologists’ Beliefs about Child Maltreatment Experiences in Clients with Common Mental Disorders
Sundén, Minja (2023)
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Misconceptions about child maltreatment, such as inaccurate beliefs about its harmfulness and frequency, are prevalent among laypeople. Clinical psychologists are not exempt from such biases, and their misconceptions might negatively affect treatment outcomes. The current study examined clinical psychologists’ assumptions about the prevalence of child maltreatment experiences in clients with common mental disorders. To gather information about the prevalence of child maltreatment and mental disorders in Finland, we used existing data from 12,952 participants. Additionally, we surveyed 222 psychologists to gather information about the assumptions they make about child maltreatment in clients with common mental disorders. A comparison of these data revealed that psychologists tended to overestimate the prevalence of sexual abuse and emotional neglect, while they underestimated the prevalence of physical abuse, emotional abuse, and physical neglect in clients with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. All types of maltreatment were overestimated in clients with alcohol use disorder and psychopathic traits. The results of the study emphasize the importance of continuous professional development and specialized training regarding child maltreatment for psychologists.
- 515 Psykologia