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Running Head: CLINICIANS’ JUDGMENTS OF CLINICAL UTILITY - page 31 / 41

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would be to apply both models to a new case, although one would still have the problem that the participants would have already been trained to conceptualize personality disorders in terms of the DSM-IV. A more informative study might be to sample novice clinicians in training who do not yet have an established diagnostic conceptualization.

Future research should also be expanded to include participants from other mental health professions concerned with the treatment or assessment of personality disorders, such as psychiatrists and social workers. The current study was confined to a sample of psychologists. A common perception is that psychiatrists are more comfortable with a categorical model of classification whereas psychologists are more comfortable with a dimensional model (e.g., Frances, 1983; Gunderson, Links, & Reich, 1991). However, there has not yet in fact been an explicit test of this assumption. It is also possible that the psychologists who volunteered to participate in this study were those who were particularly favorable toward the FFM. Inconsistent with this hypothesis was the finding that most of the psychologists indicated that they were unfamiliar with the FFM, and familiarity was uncorrelated with their ratings of clinical utility. Alternatively, it is possible that the psychologists who volunteered to participate in this study were those who were especially critical of or even antagonistic toward DSM-IV. Inconsistent with this interpretation is that utility ratings for DSM-IV were generally favorable (see Table 3). Nevertheless, in future studies it would be useful to obtain information on general attitudes toward DSM-IV and the categorical (versus dimensional) model of classification.

The current study was confined to a comparison of the DSM and the FFM. It would also be of interest for future clinical utility studies to include additional dimensional models

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