Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Amy E. Naugle

Second Advisor

Dr. C. Richard Spates

Third Advisor

Dr. Scott T. Gaynor

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Brian Horvitz


Although many treatments for mental health disorders have been found to be effective in research, community clinicians may not receive training in such empirically supported treatments, and therefore, individuals suffering from disorders may not have access to empirically supported treatment in the community. This study examined the use of an interactive multi-media computerized therapy program, Building a Meaningful Life through Behavioral Activation, as a training tool for mental health clinicians (N=21) using a pre-post study design. Participating clinicians were invited to complete this computer program over the course of several weeks, and to complete knowledge quizzes and written responses to client scenarios after each of the seven IMM-BA lessons. Participants were provided with feedback about their scores on these measures before post-training assessment.

After exposure to this program, participants demonstrated increased knowledge of Behavioral Activation (BA) on written knowledge assessments. Role-play assessment was used to allow participants to demonstrate three key components of BA with an actor portraying a depressed client; videotaped role-plays were coded by trained graduate and undergraduate students. Participants demonstrated increased use of BAconsistent behavior at post-training assessment in all three role-play scenarios, and in one role-play, participants also demonstrated increased competence. However, interrater reliability for these coded scenarios ranged in quality from excellent to poor, limiting the ability to draw valid conclusions for some portions of these data. Participants rated the instructional value of the program highly. While this sample of clinicians was favorably disposed to manualized treatments at pre-training assessment when compared to national norms, openness to manualized treatments showed a slight increase at post-training assessment. Future directions, including future examinations of this program as a training tool and methods for enhancing the inter-rater reliability of role-play assessment measures, are discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access