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The impact of organizational factors on mental health professionals' involvement with families
Psychiatric Services 1997; doi:
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Drawing on an organizational behavior framework, this study explored the impact of attitudinal, occupational, and organizational factors on mental health professionals' involvement with clients' families. METHODS: Data came from a survey conducted with psychiatric staff at the largest public hospital and the largest private hospital in Indianapolis between 1991 and 1993 as part of the Indianapolis network mental health study. Responses of 184 clinicians who provided direct care were analyzed using multiple regression to assess the impact of their attitudes toward families, job characteristics, and organizational work environment on the amount of contact they had with clients' families. RESULTS: Providers' attitudes toward families had no significant effect on the frequency of their contact with families. Job and organizational factors were the strongest predictors. Specifically, being a social worker or therapist and working on day and evening shifts were associated with increased involvement with families. Staff members' perceptions of how well their unit functioned were also positively correlated with frequency of contact with families. CONCLUSIONS: The organizational environment in mental health agencies has a significant influence on the extent to which professionals become involved with clients' families. Administrators and policy makers should give careful consideration to how the work environment encourages or limits mental health professionals' abilities and willingness to get more involved with clients' families.

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