This research aimed to collect, for the first time, information about attitudes of Croatian psychologists toward prescribing. This study also addressed ethical dilemmas related to the possibility of obtaining prescriptive privileges and the current professional standards of practice in Croatia. The total sample was 139 psychologists (88% female). Sampling was via a closed Facebook group and with the help of the Croatian Psychological Association. A majority of respondents supported prescribing privileges for psychologists, and most would like to be educated to prescribe psychotropic medications. There were statistically significant differences between those who favored prescribing and those who opposed it on the topics of type of education, necessary knowledge, and arguments for prescribing. Socio-demographic factors did not influence attitudes toward prescribing. The strongest argument for prescribing was a possibility for the integration of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. However, the prevailing argument against was the fear of conflicts with physicians. There are ethical dilemmas regarding current education of psychologists in Croatia and their competence with regard to prescribing privileges.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Those requirements included general anatomy and physiology, general pathophysiology, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neuropathophysiology, neuroscience, biochemistry, general pharmacology, psychopharmacology, physical examination, ordering and interpreting laboratory findings, and supervision by medical doctor.
The PPPQ was originally developed in the Croatian language but is translated to English language for readership from other countries. Researchers are free to use, translate, transform and change this questionnaire for the research or professional activities with the approval from the author Ivan Zečević.
American Medical Association (2017). State law chart: Psychologists prescribing. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from: https://www.ama-assn.org/sites/ama-assn.org/files/corp/meda-browser/public/government/advocacy/ama-chart-psychologist-prescribing-2017.pdf
American Psychological Association. (2018). Practice guidelines regarding psychologist's involvement in pharmacological issues. The American Psychologist, 66(9), 835–849.
Bethune, S., & Lewane, E. (2017). Idaho becomes fifth state to allow psychologist to prescribe medications. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/04/idaho-psychologists-medications.aspx
DEA. (2018). Mid-level practitioners authorization by state. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from: https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drugreg/practioners/mlp_by_state.pdf
Fitzgerald, J., & Galyer, K. (2008). Collaborative prescribing rights for psychologists: The New Zealand perspective. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 37(3), 44–52.
HPK. (2018). Pravilnik o priznavanju statusa kliničkog psihologa. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from: http://www.psiholoska-komora.hr/static/documents/Pravilnik_o__priznavanju_statusa_klinickog_psihologa_1.pdf.
Hrvatska psihološka komora. (n.d.). The list of licensed psychologists in Croatia. Retrieved June 6, 2020, from: http://www.psiholoska-komora.hr/905
Illinois. (n.d.) Clinical Psychologist Licensing Act. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from: https://bit.ly/2BEm0x0
Kubiszyn, T., & Carlson, C. I. (1995). School psychologists' attitudes toward an expanded health care role: Psychopharmacology and prescription privileges. School Psychology Quarterly, 10(3), 247–270.
Lakhan, S. E. (2007). Prescribing privileges for psychologists: A public service or hazard? Online Journal of Health and Allied Science, 6(1) Retrieved November 23, 2019, from: http://www.academia.edu/2985998/Prescribing_Privileges_for_Psychologists_A_Public_Service_or_Hazard.
Lavoie, K. L., & Fleet, R. P. (2002). Should psychologist be granted prescription privileges? A review of the prescription privilege debate for psychiatrists. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 47(5), 443–449.
Levine, E. S., & Pedhazur Schelkin, L. (2006). The move to prescribe: A change in paradigm. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 37, 205–209.
Louisiana Academy of Medical Psychologists (2018). Definition of medical psychologists. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from: https://louisianamedpsych.com
Massoth, N. A., McGrath, B., Bianchi, C., & Singer, J. C. (1990). Psychologists' attitudes toward prescription privileges. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 21(2), 147–149.
McGrath, R. E. (2010). Prescriptive authority for psychologists. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 6(1), 21–47. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-090209-151448.
Norfleet, M. A. (2002). Responding to society's needs: Prescription privileges for psychologists. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(6), 599–610.
Rae, W. A., Jensen-Doss, A., Bowden, R., Mendoza, M., & Banda, T. (2007). Prescription privileges for psychologists: Opinions of pediatric psychologists and pediatricians. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 33(2), 176–184.
Specijalizacija klinička psihologija. (2018). Retrieved November 23, 2019, from: http://psihologija.ffzg.unizg.hr/uploads/ae/96/ae96ee80e5d5b815dd71100b68ed7f00/Program-specijalistickog-studija.pdf.
Tompkins, T. L., & Johnson, J. D. (2016). What Oregon psychologists think and know about prescriptive authority: Divided views and data-driven change. Journal of Applied Biobheavioral Research, 21(3), 126–161.
Walker, K. (2002). An ethical dilemma: Clinical psychologists prescribing psychotropic medications. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 23(1), 17–29.
Data Availability Statement
Data is available at Mendeley Data, https://doi.org/10.17632/pkvppfp2db.2
Conflict of Interests
This research has received no funding, nor are there any conflicts of interest.
The research study was based on voluntary anonymous activity of responding psychologists. All procedures in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of psychological research and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
The online questionnaire had explanation that this research is anonymous, voluntary and online. Respondents received explanation for the need of this research. Theoretically, by responding to questionnaire, they agreed to research terms, and that could be considered as informed consent.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Prescriptive privileges for psychologists questionnaire Footnote 2
Please read all questions carefully and answer honestly on this Prescriptive privileges for psychologists questionnaire (PPPQ). There are no correct or false answers. You’re only allowed to check one answer for each question if not stated differently. PPPQ is divided into four sections: 1. Socio-demographic characteristics of respondents, 2. Arguments against prescribing, 3. Arguments for prescribing, and 4. Knowledge and education for prescribing privileges.
Arguments AGAINST prescribing privileges for psychologists
In section below you will find a list of arguments why psychologists SHOULD NOT be able to prescribe medication for treatment of psychiatric disorders. There are no wrong or correct answers. You answer according to your own personal belief and agreement with each of the individual arguments against prescribing privileges for psychologists. Read each statement carefully and tick your answer next to every argument.
Arguments FOR prescribing privileges for psychologists
In section below you will find a list of arguments why psychologists SHOULD be able to prescribe medication for treatment of psychiatric disorders. There are no wrong or correct answers. You answer according to your own personal belief and agreement with each of the individual arguments for prescribing privileges for psychologists. Read each statement carefully and tick your answer next to every argument.
Education and knowledge for prescribing privileges
In section below you will find a list of statements and arguments how education for prescribing privileges should be organized and what knowledge is necessary for psychologists to safely prescribe. There are no wrong or correct answers. You answer according to your own personal belief. Read each statement carefully and tick your answer next to every argument.
About this article
Cite this article
Zečević, I. Attitudes of psychologists toward prescribing privileges: Exploration of the current situation in Croatia. Curr Psychol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-020-01020-8
- Psychotropic medication
- Prescribing psychologist
- Prescribing privileges, psychopharmacology