The research was supported in part by University of Kansas General Research Fund Grant #3062-5038 to C. Daniel Batson, principal investigator. The authors wish to thank Marshall Biederman, Pam Cochran, Bonnie Klentz, David Norton, Maggie McMann, Rick Ottolino, and Tim Schmidt for their assistance in helping conduct the reported research. C. R. Snyder, Kent Houston, and Dennis Karpowitz made helpful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript.
Dispesitional Bias in Trained Therapists' Diagnoses: Does It Exist?1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 9, Issue 5, pages 476–489, October 1979
How to Cite
Batson, C. D. and Marz, B. (1979), Dispesitional Bias in Trained Therapists' Diagnoses: Does It Exist?. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 9: 476–489. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1979.tb02720.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Therapists have been charged with a dispositional bias in their diagnoses of clients' problems. While a, review of prior research revealed considerable evidence that at least some trained therapists were more dispositional in their diagnoses than nonprofessionals, there was no clear evidence that therapists' dispositional diagnoses were in error. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to try to detect error in trained therapists' diagnoses. Twelve trained therapists and 16 untrained nonprofessionals each conducted intake interviews with two clients (confederates). Employing a technique based on attribution theory, one client presented a problem that was relatively situational; the other presented a problem that was relatively dispositional. Consistent with previous research, trained therapists were more dispositional in their diagnoses than were untrained nonprofessionals, suggesting that some bias did exist. But there was no clear evidence that therapists were less sensitive than nonprofessionals to differences between situational and dispositional problems. It was concluded that, to the degree that bias implies error, the charge of bias in therapists' diagnoses remains unproven.