Oh G-d, A Borderline: Clinical Diagnostics As Fundamental Attribution Error

the Client's day. If that were to be the case, that nearly twice as many participants in the
diagnosis condition provided inaccurate responses could indicate a FAE-like event wherein
diagnosis made the recall of contextual information more difficult.
The discrepancy between accurate identification of diagnosis and context conditions
could also be attributable to the training that psychology trainees receive. Perhaps in keeping
with Snyder's (1977) assessment, the participants of the present study may have training that
makes them keener to give attention to a diagnosis than attend to contextual variables that might
affect a client's behavior.
Hypothesis 3: Theoretical Orientation and Attribution
Theoretical orientation was analyzed as a quasi-experimental independent variable
expected to influence clinical attributions. The one-way ANOVA used in the present study
indicated no significant effect of cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, or eclectic orientations on
attribution, despite some noted theoretical tendencies in cognitive-behavioral therapy that were
hypothesized to increase the likelihood of that group making dispositional inferences (Ciarrochi
& Bailey, 2008). A large difference between specifically psychodynamic and 3rd wave behavioral
clinicians was observed suggesting that psychodynamic clinicians make more dispositional
inferences. Therefore a post-hoc t-test comparing just those groups was conducted; the results
were significant among those who had received a diagnosis, t(13) = -2.28, p = .04. The difference
yields a large effect size (d= 1.3) and is concordant with previous research findings (Langer &
Ableson, 1974). It is not surprising to see this difference between the two orientations.
psychodynamic therapy is oriented towards personality change on a large scale; third wave
behavioral therapies, being behavioral in nature, look specifically to contextual variables that
influence and maintain adaptive and maladaptive behaviors.


Schmalz, Jonathan. Oh G-d, A Borderline: Clinical Diagnostics As Fundamental Attribution Error. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103389/. Accessed September 18, 2014.