Psychology Students’ Beliefs about Integrating Complementary and Alternative Therapy (CAT) into Their Future Psychology Practice


We investigated whether belief-based differences exist between students who have strong and weak intentions to integrate complementary and alternative therapy (CAT) into future psychology practice by recommending CAT or specific CAT practitioners to clients. A cross-sectional methodology was used. Psychology undergraduate students (N = 106) participated in a paper-based questionnaire design to explore their underlying beliefs related to CAT integration. The study was undertaken at a major university in Queensland, Australia. The theory of planned behaviour belief-based framework guided the study. Multivariate analyses of variance examined the influence of behavioural, normative, and control beliefs on the strong and weak intention groups. A multiple regression analysis investigated the relative importance of these belief sets for predicting intentions. We found that clear differences emerged between strong and weak intenders on behavioural and normative beliefs, but not control beliefs. Strong intenders perceived the positive outcomes of integrating CAT, such as being able to offer clients a more holistic practice and having confidence in the practitioners/practices, as more likely to occur than weak intenders, and perceived the negative outcome of compromising my professional practice as less likely. Strong intenders were more likely than weak intenders to perceive that a range of important referents (e.g., clients) would think they should integrate CAT. Results of the regression analysis revealed the same pattern of results in that behavioural and normative beliefs, but not control beliefs, significantly predicted intentions. The findings from this study can be used to inform policy and educational initiatives that aim to encourage CAT use in psychology practice.

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Wilson, L. , Hamilton, K. & White, K. (2012). Psychology Students’ Beliefs about Integrating Complementary and Alternative Therapy (CAT) into Their Future Psychology Practice. Psychology, 3, 208-212. doi: 10.4236/psych.2012.32029.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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