Psychological Consultative Services in a Nigerian University Teaching Hospital

Oladimeji, B. Y. (1993)


The legitimate functions of the individual psychologist are determined mainly by the service demands of the particular establishment. The wide range of roles and activities for a psychologist in the teaching hospital setting include psychological assessment, treatment, research, teaching and administration. The present study explores the functioning of a psychological referral services in the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex. To determine the emerging referral patterns, 229 referral forms received from January 1985 to December 1990 were analysed to see the sources of referral, sex, age, diagnostic categories and types of psychological services requested. Assessment of intellectual performance and capability, overall description of personality, assessment of needs and conflicts, and study habits assessment constitute, about 66.6% of referral requests. This is followed by requests for counselling, psychotherapy and behaviour modification, constituting 32.7%. The findings thus mean that the recommendation that only 10% of a clinical psychologists time be used on assessment and diagnosis is rot practicable in the Teaching Hospital settings in Nigeria. Despite the acknowledged limitations of available tests and techniques, the use of psychological tests is becoming widespread in educational government institutions and large industries in Nigeria. The implications of present findings for designing culturally acceptable tests as well as training programmes are highlighted.