Increasing initial appointment attendance in paediatric mental health clinics: A call for theory-driven interventions
Holly Etchegary, Normand Carrey, Janet Curran, Jill Hatchette

Initial appointment nonattendance is a serious problem for paediatric mental health services in Canada. In this paper, we report on a study protocol that uses an empirically validated theory of behavior to increase first-time attendance rates in paediatric mental health clinics. A mixed method approach is proposed to understand beliefs about initial appointments and nonattendance. We propose semi-structured interviews with parents/guardians, focus groups with children and youth, and a postal survey of parents and children in order to administer our intervention. The intervention is theoretically guided by the idea of Implementation Intentions, or ‘if-then’ plans. It is expected that the use of a theory-based, cost effective intervention will increase attendance at initial child mental health appointments. We aim to encourage researchers and clinicians to consider the use of theory-driven interventions in their work in mental health. Theoretically-guided research may allow us to prospectively identify children and youth at greater risk of missing their initial appointment and thereby target them with measures to improve attendance.


Nonattendance, paediatric mental health, intervention, theory of planned behavior, implementation intentions

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