Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School


Committee Member

Steven Huprich, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Alissa Huth-Bocks, PhD

Committee Member

Sylvia Von Kluge, PhD


The Cognitive-Affective Processing Model (CAPS) suggests that personality is best understood as a collection of cross-situationally consistent traits that are expressed based upon features of the situation. This differs from the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality, in which personality is believed to be composed of five broad trait domains that are observed consistently across multiple situations. This study compares the diagnostic accuracy of 202 licensed members of the Michigan Psychological Association who assessed personality pathology using short vignettes written to represent situationally-specific expression of traits (CAPS) compared to vignettes written with FFM trait description and DSM-IV TR description. The data suggest using CAPS descriptions yields more accurate diagnoses compared to using FFM trait descriptions and equivalent diagnostic accuracy when using the DSM-IV. Based on these initial findings, it appears that clinicians may be able to judge personality disorders better with situationally-specific, or context-dependent, information than simple trait descriptions.

Included in

Psychology Commons