Abstract 446

How to increase Treatment Acceptability of Youth Mental Health Services?

Roundtable Discussion:  Erika Thauberger, Kathleen Walsh

Session A | 9:00 – 9:40 | Location: Room 1328


Treatment acceptability is an extension of the construct of social validity, and focuses on consumers’ judgments about psychological and medical treatments (Miltenberger, 1990; Wolf, 1978). Treatment acceptability is influenced by the public’s opinions about the goals of the treatment, the content of the treatment procedures, as well as the effects and side effects of the treatment (Carter, 2007). The treatment acceptability of a given psychological intervention can have long-­‐term impacts on factors such as treatment uptake and adherence (Kazdin, 2000). For example, if a client does not see a treatment as acceptable, they are not going to be as willing to enter said treatment voluntarily. Similarly, treatments that earn higher treatment acceptability ratings see increased rates of patient compliance, and lower rates of attrition (Kazdin, 2000). Therefore, it is possible to deduce that treatments with higher acceptability will be more readily sought after and employed (by both patient and practitioner) in the manner intended; which can have long term consequences on the treatment outcome. Furthermore, treatments that have demonstrated efficacy can increase treatment acceptability (Kazdin, 1981). As such, we see a reciprocal relationship between treatment acceptability and treatment efficacy.
There has been limited research in current years on treatment acceptability’s influence on the uptake and implementation of various adolescent focused mental-­‐health services. As interventions are developed, it is important to understand whether the targeted population (in this case, adolescents) view the mental health services offered to them as acceptable. And so, if adolescents do not view mental health services as acceptable they are unlikely to seek these services voluntarily, or adhere to the treatment requirements. As school professionals, part of our role is to ensure that we are providing services that will appeal to youth, while simultaneously having a positive impact on their mental health. Therefore, the purpose of this discussion is to explore possible strategies to make mental health services more appealing to youth in schools.
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