Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Moral Foundations Theory, Rationalism, Constructivism, and Choice of Theoretical Orientation in Mental Health Professionals
by Wu, Helen Yunyue, Ph.D., St. John's University (New York), 2019, 137; 13805540
Abstract (Summary)

Psychotherapists of different theoretical orientations have long debated the best approaches to treatment of mental illness. Current research on the effectiveness and efficacy of various treatment models were not able to resolve this debate. Therefore, this study used alternative variables such as moral values and epistemological beliefs to predict choice of theoretical orientation. The Moral Foundations Questionnaire (MFQ), Therapist Attitudes Questionnaire (TAQ), and the Multitheoretical List of Therapeutic Interventions (MULTI) were respectively used to assess moral values, epistemological beliefs, and theoretical orientation.

Correlations between self-reported orientations and the MULTI subscales ranged from low to high. The pattern of factor loadings for self-reported orientation differ from those of the MULTI subscales. These results support the idea that assessing therapeutic techniques using measures like the MULTI is a more accurate method of determining theoretical orientation. As a group, mental health practitioners were more caring than the general population with PET practitioners endorsing more compassion values compared to other orientations. Most participants were satisfied with their choice of a career in mental health and constructivism was predictive of career satisfaction.


In an exploratory factor analysis of the MULTI, behavioral (BT), cognitive behavioral (CBT), common factors (CF), and dialectical behavioral (DBT) therapies loaded onto one factor. Person centered (PCT), process experiential (PET), and psychodynamic (PDT) therapies loaded onto the second factor with interpersonal therapy (IPT) loading approximately equally between the two. Authority values and rationalism positively predicted identification with Higher Order Factor 1, BT, and DBT orientations. CBT followed the same pattern with fairness values also being a positive predictor. For CF, both rationalism and constructivism were predictive of this orientation. In contrast to HO Factor 1, constructivism was predictive of HO Factor 2 with rationalism being a negative predictor. Similarly, constructivism predicted identification with PCT, PET, and PDT with rationalism being a negative predictor of PCT and PDT. Fairness values, rationalism, and constructivism were predicative of identification with IPT. Overall, the partial correlations for epistemological beliefs were greater than those for moral values indicating that the former is more predictive of theoretical orientations compared to the latter.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: DiGiuseppe, Raymond A.
Commitee: Greene, Beverly, McDermut, Wilson
School: St. John's University (New York)
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 81/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Constructivism, Epistemological beliefs, Moral foundations Theory, Multitheoretical List of Therapeutic Interventions, Rationalism, Theorectical orientation
Publication Number: 13805540
ISBN: 9781085565257
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