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Running Head: CLINICIANS’ JUDGMENTS OF CLINICAL UTILITY - page 25 / 41

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research literature have concluded that the existing PD sympotmatology can be accounted for by the domains and facets of the FFM (Livesley, 2001-a; Saulsman & Page, 2004; O’Connor, 2005; Trull & Durrett, 2005; Widiger & Costa, 2002).  Prior studies have also indicated that clinicians can effectively use the FFM to describe personality disorders (e.g., Blais, 1997; Samuel & Widiger, 2004; Sprock, 2002). The FFM may have an additional advantage in being able to provide a more individualized profile description of the personality problems of Ted, Earnst, and Madeline without resorting to the cumbersome practice of multiple diagnoses or assigning a PDNOS classification.

Perhaps the most surprising finding of the current study was that the clinicians considered the FFM descriptions to be more useful in helping them to formulate an effective treatment plan. The clinicians indicated that they were moderately or very familiar with the DSM-IV nomenclature and it is likely that they had been trained with the DSM system. In addition, it also seems likely that many of the clinicians would have been familiar with at least one of the many published texts on the treatment of the DSM-IV personality disorders (e.g., Benjamin, 2002; Beck et al., 2003). In contrast, the clinicians indicated that they were only vaguely familiar with the FFM and it is less likely that they were familiar with any of the chapters or articles concerning the clinical or treatment applications of the FFM (e.g., Sanderson & Clarkin, 2002). Nevertheless, they still considered the FFM to be more useful for formulating an effective intervention.

The results of the current study are perhaps consistent with the suggestion of Livesley (2003) and Verheul (2005) that the clinical utility of the DSM-IV personality disorder

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