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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Evidence-based practice and potentially harmful treatment in Canadian therapists Thomson, Nicole Victoria


Despite the abundance of research supporting evidence-based-practice (EBP), therapists are more likely to choose interventions based on intuition, training, and personal experience, rather than research (Gyani, Shafran, Myles, & Rose, 2014). One possible risk of not using EBP is that it leaves therapists open to the use of potentially harmful treatments (PHT) (Lilienfeld, 2007). Previous research has found that positive attitudes towards EBP are linked to intentions of using research to inform practice (Tasca, Grenon, Fortin-Langelier, & Chyurlia, 2014). While research about attitudes towards EBP and use of PHT are both growing respectively, there is a dearth of research supporting the relationship between attitudes towards EBP and use of PHT in Canadian therapists. This study explores attitudes towards EBP, use of PHT, and the relationship between EBP attitudes and PHT use in a sample of Canadian therapists. An online questionnaire was used to survey 152 practicing therapists, including registered counsellors and psychologists. Measures used include: the Attitudes Towards Evidence-Based Practice Scale-50 (EBPAS-50; Aarons, et al., 2012), a custom questionnaire assessing use of PHT, and questionnaires about education, practice, and personal demographics. Descriptive and inferential statistics were calculated. Results indicated that therapist factors like education, number of specializations, and caseload, independently related to certain domains of EBP attitudes, and to use of PHT. Moreover, specific dimensions of EBP attitudes related to use of PHT. In conclusion, this study confirms the association between negative attitudes towards EBP and using PHT in Canadian therapists. These findings also suggest that education, manageable caseloads, and limited specializations, may be important protective factors against negative attitudes towards EBP, and the use of PHT.

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