Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Kathleen Gathercoal, PhD


The purpose of the current research was to obtain medical personnel perceptions about the role of behavioral health psychology within their medical care practices in Oregon. Four hypotheses were explored. Hypothesis 1 asserted that medical personnel from urban, suburban, and rural locations would hold significantly different views; Hypothesis 2 suggested that the sample would more likely refer the more acute patients; Hypothesis 3 posited that medical personnel would make more referrals if they knew a mental health provider; Hypothesis 4 stated that there would be significant differences between the perceptions and practices of female and male members of this sample. A 26-item questionnaire was sent to a multi-stage probability random sample of 509 medical personnel, representing 4.1% of those holding licenses from the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners as of April 10, 2011. Of the 509 questionnaires originally mailed, 69 were returned and usable (14.9% of the sample).The questionnaire collected nominal, interval, and ratio data to explore four working hypotheses. The four hypotheses were explored via analyses of variance and correlations between various factors. Results indicate that (H1a) where the medical personnel practiced did not impact the acuity levels they assigned to patient symptoms or the use of behavioral health referral services; (H1b) those practicing in urban and suburban locales who wanted to refer to externally located behavioral health specialists preferred referring to psychiatrists; (H1c) practice locations did not impact either the perceived need for or actual referrals made; (H1d) practice locations also did not impact the type of professionals to whom referrals were made; (H2) respondents were expecting to refer both lower and higher acuity level patients for behavioral health services; (H3) knowing a specific behavioral health specialist did not significantly affect the referral process; (H4) more female medical professionals believed their patients from last year would have benefitted from a behavioral health referral. The results are discussed with reference to the impact on establishing a behavioral health practice in Oregon.