Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Trainees’ Attitudes Toward Prescribing and Managing Psychotropic Medications

Lisa Hutchison, Meredith Clark, Carolyn Gnerre, Esther Rollhaus, Ruth E. Eisenberg, Wenzhu Mowrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: There has been a recent concern about the overuse of psychotropic medications in children. This study was designed to assess the attitudes held by child and adolescent psychiatry trainees toward the prescription and management of medications in the pediatric population. Methods: An online survey was sent to all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited child and adolescent psychiatry training programs across the USA with the goal of assessing trainee comfort and confidence with prescribing skills and concepts. Results: About 63 trainees (7.2% of the targeted population) were included in the analyses. While most participants reported confidence in basic prescribing skills, areas of lower confidence included cross-tapering medications, managing side effects, knowledge of the evidence base, drug-drug interactions, and de-prescribing. Advanced year in training was associated with higher confidence overall but failed to reach significance with some complex concepts such as polypharmacy (p = 0.27) and de-prescribing (p = 0.10). In contrast, increased supervision had a significant impact on confidence regarding complex concepts (p = 0.04) but not basic skills (p = 0.51). Supervision was also associated with higher training satisfaction (p = 0.001). Conclusions: Though the study was limited by a low response rate, these preliminary findings suggest potential areas for targeted psychopharmacology training. The findings also support how the important role supervision plays in the development of more complex skills. Further studies are needed to better understand these potential areas of curricula development and to explore the most effective training modalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Curriculum
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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