Australian psychologists' knowledge, confidence, and practices in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder diagnostic assessment

Katherine Kerimofski, Kirsten Panton, Carmela Pestell

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Background: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a neurodevelopmental disor- der caused by prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). There are many documented barri- ers to FASD diagnostic assessment, including a limited number of trained clinicians. This study aimed to establish baseline levels of Australian psychologists' knowledge and practices in FASD assessment to develop training and improve future diagnostic capacity.Methods: An online survey was completed by 106 Australian psychologists. The sur- vey elicited respondents' demographics, knowledge about FASD, confidence in vari- ous aspects of assessment and perceived future training needs.Results: Respondents reported a broad understanding of the FASD diagnostic term and potential harm of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). However, most respondents were not confident in their ability to conduct the psychometric assessments that provide a diagnostic assessment of FASD or ask about PAE. There was a significant positive correlation between the number of correct knowledge items and the psy- chologists' confidence in conducting FASD assessments. The clinical neuropsycholo- gists demonstrated significantly greater knowledge and confidence in applying FASD diagnostic criteria and assessing PAE than school, clinical, and other psychologists. Most psychologists were more confident in their ability to apply the diagnostic criteria for other neurodevelopmental disorders.Conclusions: Recognition of FASD is growing in Australia, however, further work is re- quired to improve clinicians' understanding of and confidence in completing FASD as- sessments. Most participants indicated a preference for online training to learn more about FASD assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-666
Number of pages14
JournalAlcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number4
Early online date5 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


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