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Running Head: CLINICIANS’ JUDGMENTS OF CLINICAL UTILITY - page 23 / 41

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disorder nomenclature, which has explicitly excluded normal and adaptive personality traits. Official diagnostic nomenclatures used in some other countries, however, have included normal, adaptive personality traits (e.g., Cuba and China). The broader coverage provided by the FFM may indeed prove to be a clinically useful advantage. The inclusion of adaptive personality traits would allow for the provision of a more comprehensive description of a patient’s entire personality functioning, would facilitate an integration of the diagnostic manual with basic science research on general personality structure, and might help identify personality traits that contribute to treatment responsivity (Widiger & Simonsen, 2005).

Given the historical foundation of the FFM through studies of the common trait terms within the English language (Ashton & Lee, 2001), it is perhaps also not surprising that the FFM was rated as more useful for communicating information to laypersons such as clients or their families. The terms and constructs that describe the domains (e.g., extraversion) and the facets (e.g., achievement striving) are more familiar and easily understood by laypersons than the professional constructs of the DSM nomenclature (e.g., histrionic; identity disturbance). This potential advantage of the FFM is not trivial (First et al., 2004). A system that is more readily understood and conceptualized by a client might be beneficial for establishing rapport and treatment engagement. Additionally, a nomenclature that uses familiar concepts might help to decrease some of the stigma that is often attached to mental disorders, and personality disorders in particular (Schacht, 1985; Widiger, 2003).

A somewhat surprising result, however, might be the higher ratings for the FFM in terms of comprehensively describing all of the individual’s important personality problems. Concerns

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