Perceptions of the Limitations of Confidentiality Among Chinese Mental Health Practitioners, Adolescents and Their Parents

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The present study aims to (a) survey Chinese mental health professionals’ attitudes toward therapeutic confidentiality with adolescent patients in specific clinical situations, and (b) compare Chinese adolescents’ and parents’ beliefs about when most mental health professionals would breach confidentiality. A sample of 36 mental health practitioners, 152 parents, and 164 adolescents completed a survey to assess their opinions about when confidentiality should be breached in 18 specific clinical situations (e.g., an adolescent tells his or her therapist that he or she smoked a cigarette, had unprotected sex, or attempted suicide). Nearly half of the parents (46%) and adolescents (41%) and 78% of the therapists in our sample selected “yes” in response to the question of whether the principle of confidentiality applies to adolescents. However, 49% of parents indicated “no,” and 53% of adolescents indicated “not sure.” Compared to adolescents, parents were significantly more likely to believe that therapists would breach confidentiality for the high-breach-likelihood items. For the low-breach-likelihood items, adolescents and parents were significantly more likely than therapists to believe confidentiality should be breached. Results from this study provide data to inform the development, refinement, practical implementation, and communication of guidelines and recommendations specific to adolescents receiving psychotherapy in China.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rodriguez, MA; Fang, CM; Gao, J; Robins, C; Rosenthal, MZ

Published Date

  • May 18, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 344 - 356

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1050-8422

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/10508422.2015.1038748

Citation Source

  • Scopus