Managed Mental Health Care: Attitudes and Ethical Beliefs of Child and Pediatric Psychologists

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ObjectiveTo examine child and pediatric psychologists’ ethical beliefs and attitudes toward managed mental health care.MethodsIn a survey mailed in spring 1997, 252 child and pediatric psychologists responded to three vignettes depicting ethical dilemmas related to working with managed mental health care (confidentiality, restriction of services, misdiagnosis). Data were collected about psychologists’ ethical choices and reasons given for choices, attitudes toward managed care, the extent to which managed care affected ethical decision making, and level of managed care involvement.ResultsDifferences were found in choices made for the ethical dilemmas in regard to what participants thought they should do, would do, and actually did do. Overall, participants endorsed negative attitudes toward managed care. Participants reported that managed care somewhat affected their ethical decision making for the vignettes. Level of managed care involvement was not related to ethical decision making or attitudes toward managed care.ConclusionsThe findings suggest areas for examination as new ethical standards are created for work in managed care environments.

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