Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Psychology


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Associate Professor Andrew Ellcnnan

Second Advisor

Associate Professor Ed Helmes


Part 1: Literature review. This review of the published literature examines the consequences for individuals with co-occurring substance use disorder and chronic mental illness in traditional treatment systems that provide separate mental health and substance use treatment and identifies barriers to effective service delivery. Barriers to effective assessment and treatment are related to a lack of integration of treatments, a Jack of networking among services, and a failure to identify and assess adequately for the presence of a dual disorder. The attitude of professionals towards DD individuals is indicated as a potential barrier. Professional education in dual disorders is emphasized and recommendations from the literature are discussed. Part 2: Research report. This study was undertaken to examine the attitudes and practice of psychologists towards patients with dual disorders, and to establish whether the acquisition of additional education in dual diagnosis made a difference regarding assessment and treatment. An 18-item questionnaire was developed and mailed to 200 registered psychologists throughout Australia. A total of 98 responded after receiving two reminder letters. Results of univariate tests and discriminant function analysis indicated that education in dual diagnosis was significantly related to better knowledge of, and practice by psychologists towards, dually disordered patients. These findings were significantly related to the successful identification of individuals with a dual disorder as well as effective assessment and treatment.