Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Awakening Psychologists to the Importance of Sleep: An Online Course in Sleep Psychology for Mental Health Practitioners
by Peachey, John Thomas, Psy.D., Alliant International University, San Francisco Bay, 2012, 107; 3529288
Abstract (Summary)

Sleep disturbance is comorbid with of a broad range of psychiatric disorders. However, graduate clinical psychology programs provide little training in sleep or sleep disorders. An overview of literature on sleep and mental health, sleep disorders, graduate education in sleep, and online learning is presented. Following a review of several sleep syllabi, a 10-week, 15-module online course in Sleep Psychology was developed and taught to 19 doctoral psychology students. To evaluate the educational effectiveness of the course, the syllabus was evaluated by two experts in the field of sleep, students completed an attitude and knowledge assessment prior to and following the course, and students also completed a post-course skills assessment demonstrating their clinical strategy in response to a clinical vignette. Students' responses were compared to a matched control group of 19 students who did not take the course. The skills assessment was evaluated by three raters blind to group status.

The expert reviewers gave uniformly strong evaluations of the course across all content areas assessing course format and content, and provided recommendations for future versions of the course.

Whereas no significant differences were seen between the pre-course enrolled student and control group scores on measures of sleep knowledge and attitudes, after completion of the course, students scored significantly higher ( p < .05) than controls in appreciation for the role of sleep in mental and physical health, interest in seeking further training in sleep, and confidence in the clinical application of the techniques covered in the course. On the knowledge and clinical skills assessment, compared to controls, enrolled students demonstrated superior knowledge of sleep topics, greater sophistication in the application of sleep theory and research to support interventions, greater use of specific sleep assessment instruments, and proficiency in the psychological treatment of insomnia and intrusive nightmares. Overall, this study demonstrates strong support for the effectiveness of a graduate-level online course in Sleep Psychology. It is recommended that future courses in sleep be based on this model in order to provide affordable and convenient access to training for student trainees and working professionals.

Indexing (document details)
School: Alliant International University, San Francisco Bay
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Health education
Keywords: Course development, Mental health practitioners, Sleep disturbances
Publication Number: 3529288
ISBN: 9781267654847
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