Oh G-d, A Borderline: Clinical Diagnostics As Fundamental Attribution Error Page: 35
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The present findings indicate that in the presence of intense client behavior, the roles of
contextual information and diagnosis are negligible in the types of attribution inferences that
student clinicians make. Observed stigma in relation to diagnoses of BPD and other Axis II
disorders is not disproven by the results of this study; participants of this study may still have
had greatly stigmatizing reactions towards the Client. Nevertheless, a diagnosis, even a notably
stigmatizing one, did not lead clinicians in this sample to make overly dispositional
generalizations in the presence of markedly dramatic client behavior.
In the grander context of the present study's overall finding that there was a lack of
meaningful effects due to diagnosis or no diagnosis, the meaningfulness of the differences
observed in the attributions of psychodynamic and third wave behavioral clinicians is called into
question. After all, both approaches generally have strong empirical support as to their
effectiveness. Psychodynamic clinicians do not stigmatize and consequently damage rapport and
the outcomes of their clients. The relationship between attribution tendency and therapeutic
outcomes is not entirely clear. It could be that there would ultimately be no effect of the former
on the latter; it could also be possible that some third variable mediates the relationship between
the two, allowing for dispositional conceptualizations to benefit therapeutic outcomes from a
There were a number of limitations to the present study that have been mentioned above,
which merit further consideration, as well as a few that have not yet been mentioned. Some of
the limitations are of a conceptual nature and some of a practical one.
Practical limitations. The sample size of the present study was hindered by difficulties in
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Schmalz, Jonathan. Oh G-d, A Borderline: Clinical Diagnostics As Fundamental Attribution Error, thesis, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103389/m1/41/: accessed February 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .