Fifteen hundred members were drawn from the directory of the American Psychological Association’s Division 42, the organization of psychologists in private practice. APA Division 42 was chosen to maximize the probability that the participants would be actively engaged in clinical practice. The clinicians were randomly assigned to receive one of three case vignettes. After reading the case history, clinicians were asked to provide DSM and FFM ratings (the sequence was counterbalanced to prevent order effects). After making the ratings of both models the clinician was asked to rate the clinical utility of each model with respect to six concerns. Finally, each participant completed a demographic questionnaire and returned the materials in the envelope provided.
The psychiatric and personality literatures were examined for case histories written about actual individuals who possessed significant personality difficulties. Three historic cases were selected on the basis of their level of functional impairment, salience, and the accessibility of a reasonably comprehensive description of the individual’s personality. The case histories, approximately 1.5 pages (single space) in length, covered the individual’s life span, although they emphasized the maladaptive personality traits of adulthood. In each instance, the vignettes used wording of the original sources to avoid any potential biasing toward DSM or FFM terminology. Verbatim copies of the vignettes used in this study are available on request from the first author.
Case 1: Ted. Ted (Bundy) was a serial murderer who systematically raped and murdered