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

Description: Researchers raise concerns that the diagnostic approach can create stigma and lead to clinical inferences that focus on dispositional characteristics at the expense of situational variables. From social cognitive theory to strict behavioral approaches there is broad agreement that situation is at least as important as disposition. The present study examined the clinical inferences of graduate student clinicians randomly presented a diagnosis (borderline PD) or no diagnosis and either randomly given context information or no context information before watching a videotaped clinical interaction of a fabricated client. Responses to a questionnaire assessing dispositional or situational attributions about the client’s behavior indicated a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder did not significantly increase dispositional attributions and did not significantly moderate the importance of contextual factors. A notable difference between the attributions made by psychodynamic and third wave behavioral respondents was observed. Conceptual and experimental limitations as well as future directions are discussed.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Schmalz, Jonathan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Development and Validation of a Measure of Religious and Spiritual Flexibility

Description: Religion and spirituality are vital aspects of many people’s lives both in the United States and across the globe. Although many constructs and measures exist to describe and assess the experience of pursuing the sacred, the complexity of religious and spiritual experience leads to mixed results in relation to well-being and psychopathological traits. However, in broad terms, the relationship appears positive. Over the past 30 years the need for more refined and useful approaches to the study of religious and spiritual behavior has been repeatedly acknowledged. Although authors wisely caution development of further measures without due cause, extant constructs and measures do not provide clear and consistent results for understanding the influence of one’s relationships to religion and spirituality upon behaviors of clinical interest. The present project drew from the functional contextual concept of psychological flexibility, which provides clarity to understanding the encouragement and maintenance of psychological well-being. A new construct of religious and psychological flexibility is explicated as a functional approach to understanding religious and spiritual behavior in a manner that is useful in research and clinical settings alike. The development and evaluation of the Measure of Religious and Spiritual Flexibility (MRSF) is described. The MRSF evidenced adequate internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Confirmatory factor analysis results were positive, but indicate further refinement. Analyses suggested good construct validity of the MRSF in relation to psychological well-being and psychopathology; construct validity in relation to extant constructs in the psychology of religion was varied. Implications and future directions are discussed.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Schmalz, Jonathan E.
Partner: UNT Libraries