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Practitioner Perceptions of Axis II Personality Labels: Do Stereotypes Affect Prognosis, Treatment, and Likability

16 April 2005


Sixty graduate students completed packets composed of clinical vignettes, the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), and a study questionnaire designed to measure practitioner judgments of Axis II personality disorder labels. Clinical vignettes sampled the three personality disorder clusters and represented diagnoses of schizoid, borderline, and avoidant . personality disorders. Three identical vignettes were also created, whicb differed in the absence of an Axis II personality disorder and addition of an Axis I disorder, and included dysthymic disorder, major depressive disorder, and social phobia. It was hypothesized, due to the negative effects of bias and stigma related to Axis II personality labels' that: 1) As compared to Axis I clients, Axis II clients would be rated lower for likeability, prognosis, willingness to accept the client into a practitioner's caseload, and treatment alliance, 2): An increased number of characterological interventions would be proposed for Axis II clients as compared to their Axis I counterparts, 3) Axis II clients would be rated higher for negative affective adjectives and Axis I clients would receive higher ratings for positive affective adjectives, and 4) Theoretical orientation would effect agreement with presented diagnoses. No significant differences were detected to support the study hypotheses and a number of explanations for the study's lack of agreement with the literature were proposed.


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