Alliance and Suicide Prevention Lab

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

The Role of the Theory of Planned Behavior in Therapists' Involvement of Parents in Youth Treatment

By Sherecce Fields, Ph.D.

A Doctoral Dissertation Defended 2007

Project Overview

The theory of planned behavior has been studied in a wide variety of health related research. One area that has not evaluated the relevance of the TPB is that of therapists' attitudes for involving parents in treatment. The current study examined the feasibility of Ajzen's (1985) Theory of Planned Behavior for explaining whether or not therapists include parents in treatment. Participants in this study were therapists with at least one-year experience in treating youth under the age of 11. It was hypothesized that all of the variables of the TPB would be significant predictors of therapists' intention to include parents in treatment. Overall, results of this study provided support for the role of the Theory of Planned Behavior in predicting therapists' inclusion of parents in youth treatment although subjective norm was not a significant predictor of intention and subsequent inclusion of parents in youth treatment. Results of posthoc analyses reveal that there are several therapist demographic characteristics that are related to TPB constructs. Specifically, coursework and training in Family Systems was found to be related to positive attitudes about involving parents in treatment. Also, therapists in practice settings were much more likely to intend to include parents in youth treatment than those in school settings. In addition, therapists' estimate of the percentage of the percentage of time others in the field include parents in youth related treatment was significant predictor of their ratings of subjective norm. These results highlight the importance of the relationship between therapist training and orientation and attitudes toward parental involvement. They also highlight the importance of examining precursors to the development of TPB constructs. Clinical implications of these results are discussed.