Assessment of Training Received by Psychology Graduate Students in the Area of Chronic Mental Illness

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Chronic mental illness (CMI), also called serious mental disability (SMD), affects many people, directly and indirectly. Psychologists have the potential to make important contributions in the study of CMI and in the delivery of service to persons affected by CMI. To assess the training provided to students in this area, questionnaires were sent to all the directors of APA-accredited clinical psychology PhD programs in the U.S. Seventy-one directors (60%) returned usable surveys. Examples of findings are as follows: the mean number of courses focusing primarily on CMI is .56 per program, per year; about half the programs graduated no students with a CMI specialty during the last 5 years; and the mean number of student-conducted research projects on CMI is .5 studies per program, per year. Almost three-quarters of the respondents expressed interest in developing a concentration or track in CMI in their programs if additional funds were to become available.

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