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Running Head: CLINICIANS’ JUDGMENTS OF CLINICAL UTILITY - page 10 / 41

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based on real individuals. In fact, the case vignettes were comprised of sentences confined largely to behavioral descriptions or illustrations of the diagnostic criteria for DSM personality disorders. Each vignette was quite brief (approximately one paragraph in length), with the sentences confined largely to specific behaviors that would illustrate individual personality disorder diagnostic criteria. It was not the intention of Sprock (2003) to construct or use cases that would favor the DSM-IV nomenclature over an alternative dimensional model. Many of the cases were simply obtained from previously prepared vignettes developed for studies of the process with which clinicians reach DSM diagnostic decisions (Blashfield, Sprock, Pinkston, & Hodgin, 1985) or were obtained from case books that were published to illustrate the diagnostic categories (e.g., Spitzer, Gibbon, Skodol, Williams, & First, 1989). Nevertheless, it is perhaps not surprising for clinicians to indicate that the DSM system is more useful for conceptualizing, describing, and understanding persons who are described explicitly in terms of the diagnostic criteria provided within the existing nomenclature. The FFM would have likely obtained higher ratings than the DSM-IV if the sentences were written to describe specific facets of the FFM, but this would only indicate that the FFM is more readily applicable than DSM-IV for cases written to represent the domains and facets of the FFM. A more fair comparison of the clinical utility of the DSM and FFM would be to use cases concerning actual persons, described in a manner that is more neutral with respect to the two alternative nomenclatures. One might still expect clinicians to provide higher ratings for the DSM-IV nomenclature, given their familiarity and training with the DSM-IV, but at least the cases would not explicitly favor one of the two alternatives.

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