Use of Q-methodology to identify clinical psychologists' attitudes towards genetic research affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

  • Catherine Vahey

Student thesis: Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Abstract

AbstractTitle: Use of Q-methodology to identify clinical psychologists' attitudes towards genetic research affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilitiesBackground: Advances in molecular genetics are having a growing influence on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) in terms of increased knowledge of genetic causes of disability and new diagnostic technologies. Awareness and consideration of these influences varies among professionals in the field with those involved in direct clinical work putting more emphasis on presenting behaviours rather than underlying etiology (Hodapp & Dykens, 1994). Different professional cultures appear to affect awareness and application of genetic technologies. Considering the potential of this technology to influence the lives of people with IDDs it is important to understand the beliefs and attitudes held towards them by key professional groups in clinical services. Clinical psychologists are one such group and the aim of the current study was to delineate their views on aspects of the "New Genetics." Method: A Q-methodology design explored the subjective opinions of 16 trainee and 15 qualified clinical psychologists towards relevant genetic research. Participants Q-sorted 81 statements reflective of the research topic according to their level of agreement/disagreement with them. Results: Principal component factor analysis with a varimax rotation showed that participants primarily loaded on to three factors [1] a willingness to integrate medical and social models of disability, [2] a preference for a social model of disability and [3] an appreciation of genetic technologies but with need for caution when applying them with people with IDDs. Both amount and type of professional experience affected factor loadings. Conclusions: The varying attitudes of clinical psychologists towards the "New Genetics" and the identified influences affecting them should be considered in the practical application of developments from the field. Catherine Ann VaheyClinPsyDUniversity of Manchester12th July 2013
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDougal Hare (Supervisor)

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