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Running Head: CLINICIANS’ JUDGMENTS OF CLINICAL UTILITY - page 22 / 41

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rating they provided for the DSM nomenclature (however, inclusion of familiarity as a covariate in the MANOVA for model did not alter the statistical significance of the results; F [6,232] = 4.32, p < .001). Familiarity with the FFM did not correlate significantly with the participants’ perception of the utility of the FFM ( r = .057; p >.05) nor with their perception of the utility of the DSM ( r =  .038; p >.05).

Discussion

The practicing psychologists in this sample were generally able to apply both the five-factor and DSM models in consistent ways. Reliability for both models can be considered adequate to good and remained this way across all three cases and across most methods with which agreement was calculated. The significant finding of this study is that the FFM was consistently rated higher than the DSM model in terms of four of the six aspects of clinical utility. The clinicians rated the FFM as significantly more useful with respect to its ability to provide a global description of the individual’s personality, communicate information to clients, encompass all of the individual’s important personality difficulties, and assist the clinician in formulating effective treatment interventions. A potential understanding of these findings will be first discussed, followed by a consideration of one of the three case histories as an illustration.

Clinical Utility of the FFM and DSM-IV

An aspect of clinical utility that one might expect the FFM to have an advantage over the DSM is providing a description of an individual’s global personality. The FFM was constructed to provide a reasonably thorough, comprehensive personality description (Costa & McCrae, 1992; John & Srivastava, 1999). This has never been the intention of the DSM personality

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