Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology - Florida School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Patricia S. Dixon, Psy.D.

Second Advisor

Eric L. Rosen, Ph.D.


Mental health disorders are on the rise among children. Within the field of clinical psychology, psychological testing is considered a professional competency and a formative diagnostic tool. Simultaneously, testing can help clarify differential diagnosis, guide treatment for both medical and mental health conditions, and provide accurate monitoring of treatment over time. Although there is substantial evidence supporting the use of testing in practice, there is limited scientific data linking these same benefits to the assessment process. One explanation for this is that studying psychological assessments is a challenging task, given the complexities of the process. Subsequently, many have described conducting psychological assessment as a continual, dynamic, decision-making process. However, what attributes to a psychologist’s clinical judgment when choosing to conduct testing remains unclear. The purpose of this clinical research project was to explore the contributing factors behind clinical child psychologists’ decision-making in relation to determining the necessity of conducting assessments with children. An analysis of the existing literature was conducted for psychological assessment methods with children, clinical decision-making in psychology, and healthcare related fields. The findings of this research project suggested several patterns across the literature. Specifically, the emerging factors suggested that clinical psychologists’ decision-making closely resembles a Naturalistic Decision Making model, in turn, a clinical decision-making model for clinical child psychologists was proposed. Finally, after analyzing factors weighing into effective clinical decision-making, a proposed model of action steps outlining psychological assessment methods with children was created to inform clinical practice.