Award Date

8-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Christopher Heavey, Chair

Second Committee Member

Jeffrey Kern

Third Committee Member

Russell Hurlburt

Graduate Faculty Representative

Stephen Fife

Number of Pages

121

Abstract

Although it is intuitive that the judgments made by mental-health clinicians become increasingly accurate as they gain clinical experience, research has demonstrated only minimal effects of experience on clinical judgment. Feedback regarding the accuracy of judgments is widely considered to be an essential component in developing clinical judgment. However, very little research has systematically examined whether the provision of feedback following judgments leads to increased judgment accuracy. The current research explored the effects of providing feedback to therapists regarding client progress on the accuracy of therapists' judgments of change. The effect of feedback on therapists' confidence ratings regarding such judgments was also examined. Ten therapists at two on-campus outpatient clinics were randomly assigned to feedback (FB) or no-feedback (NFB) conditions. Immediately following each therapy session, therapists made judgments regarding the direction and magnitude of client progress. Therapists in the FB condition subsequently received feedback regarding clients' progress based upon a self-report measure of distress. The small size of the sample and correspondingly low statistical power made significance testing impractical. Thus the results were examined in terms of effect sizes and should be considered exploratory. Results suggested that feedback did not improve judgment accuracy, as therapists in the NFB condition demonstrated greater improvement in accuracy over time. Therapists were found to be generally overconfident regarding the accuracy of their judgments. Feedback tended to reduce confidence ratings over time. Additionally, clients of therapists in the FB condition appeared to improve at a faster rate than clients of therapists in the NFB condition, consistent with previous research regarding the therapeutic effects of progress feedback. Finally, the number of judgments made by individual therapists was positively related to judgment accuracy, suggesting that repetition with the specific judgment task was beneficial. Results are discussed in terms of applications of feedback in training settings and directions for future research.

Keywords

Counselor and client; Feedback (Psychology); Psychodiagnostics; Therapist and patient

Disciplines

Clinical Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Psychology

Language

English


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