Australian mental health worker attitudes towards cCBT: What is the role of knowledge? Are there differences? Can we change them?
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Background: Despite the proven efficacy of computerised cognitive behavioural treatment (cCBT) programmes and their potential to provide more people with high quality treatment, their uptake is relatively low. This study had three main objectives: 1. To investigate the impact of Australian mental health worker knowledge of cCBT on a range of attitudes towards these programmes. 2. To determine differences in attitudes towards cCBT between a) those whose primary therapeutic approach was CBT and those whose primary therapeutic approach was not CBT, b) psychologists and non-psychologists and c) those who reported intention to use cCBT programmes compared to those who did not. 3. To determine whether a short presentation on cCBT was effective in changing mental health worker attitudes towards cCBT. Methods: One hundred and twenty-four Australian mental health workers completed an online survey that measured: knowledge of cCBT; perceived advantages of cCBT; perceived disadvantages of cCBT; circumstances under which cCBT was perceived to be advantageous; belief in the efficacy of computers in therapy; comfort with using computers in therapy; and intention to use cCBT. Participants were randomly allocated into either the cCBT presentation condition or Control presentation condition. After viewing the presentation, participants again completed the measures. Results: Higher knowledge of cCBT was found to be associated with fewer perceived disadvantages of cCBT (t = − 4.51, p < .001) and a greater number of circumstances under which cCBT was perceived to be advantageous (t = 2.30, p = .021). No differences between psychologists and non-psychologists or between those whose primary therapeutic approach was CBT and those whose primary therapeutic approach was not CBT, were found. Compared to those low in intention to use cCBT, those who reported high intention to use cCBT programmes were found to perceive more advantages of cCBT, F(1119) = 9.32, p = .003, fewer disadvantages of cCBT, F(1119) = 17.10, p < .001, more circumstances under which cCBT was considered advantageous, F(1119) = 17.89, p < .001, reported higher belief in the efficacy of computers in therapy, F(1119) = 26.39, p < .001, η2 = .181, endorsed greater comfort with using computers in therapy, F(1119) = 7.80, p = .006, and had greater knowledge of cCBT, F(1119) = 5.00, p = .027. Finally, compared to Control presentation participants, those who viewed the cCBT presentation demonstrated a significantly greater increase in knowledge of cCBT, F(1119) = 13.77, p < .001, a greater increase in the perceived advantages of cCBT, F(1119) = 4.82, p = .030, and a greater reduction in the perceived disadvantages of cCBT, F(1119) = 4.77, p = .031. Conclusions: Australian mental health workers attitudes can be changed through provision of information about, and demonstrations of, cCBT programmes.
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