Perceived drivers and barriers to the adoption of eMental health by psychologists: the construction of the levels of adoption of eMental health model

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Background: The internet offers major opportunities in supporting mental health care, and a variety of technology-mediated mental and behavioral health services have been developed. Yet, despite growing evidence for the effectiveness of these services, their acceptance and use in clinical practice remains low. So far, the current literature still lacks a structured insight into the experienced drivers and barriers to the adoption of electronic mental health (eMental health) from the perspective of clinical psychologists. Objective: The aim of this study was to gain an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the drivers and barriers for psychologists in adopting eMental health tools, adding to previous work by also assessing drivers and analyzing relationships among these factors, and subsequently by developing a structured representation of the obtained findings. Methods: The study adopted a qualitative descriptive approach consisting of in-depth semistructured interviews with clinical psychologists working in the Netherlands (N=12). On the basis of the findings, a model was constructed that was then examined through a communicative validation. Results: In general, a key driver for psychologists to adopt eMental health is the belief and experience that it can be beneficial to them or their clients. Perceived advantages that are novel to literature include the acceleration of the treatment process, increased intimacy of the therapeutic relationship, and new treatment possibilities due to eMental health. More importantly, a relation was found between the extent to which psychologists have adopted eMental health and the particular drivers and barriers they experience. This differentiation is incorporated in the Levels of Adoption of eMental Health (LAMH) model that was developed during this study to provide a structured representation of the factors that influence the adoption of eMental health. Conclusions: The study identified both barriers and drivers, several of which are new to the literature and found a relationship between the nature and importance of the various drivers and barriers perceived by psychologists and the extent to which they have adopted eMental health. These findings were structured in a conceptual model to further enhance the current understanding. The LAMH model facilitates further research on the process of adopting eMental health, which will subsequently enable targeted recommendations with respect to technology, training, and clinical practice to ensure that mental health care professionals as well as their clients will benefit optimally from the current (and future) range of available eMental health options.

Originele taal-2Engels
Aantal pagina's13
TijdschriftJournal of Medical Internet Research
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
StatusGepubliceerd - 1 apr. 2018


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