Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



While there is an extensive literature on the use of psychotropic medications among individuals with mental retardation, little of it has focused on the reasons for these prescriptions. Researchers have shown that the prevalence of psychotropic medication use among individuals with mental retardation is relatively high when compared to people with other disabilities and that the reasons for these drug prescriptions may not be based on rational pharmacotherapy. Data is needed on the prescribing physician’s adherence to consensus guidelines or algorithms developed to enhance rational psychopharmacotherapy. In order to do this, the rationales being used by physicians when they decide to prescribe a medication must first be examined. The current study examines the approaches to medication prescription taken by physicians at one state facility. The results of this study showed that physicians at this particular facility for individuals with developmental disabilities typically used a primary illness approach in prescribing psychotropic medication. The results also showed that, in general, the documentation in the charts regarding assessments, diagnostic formulation, differential diagnosis, and rationale of pharmacotherapy was not very clear or missing. The limitations of this study are discussed as well as implications for future research.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Johnny Lee Matson

Included in

Psychology Commons