The effects of peripheral message cues on clinicians' judgments about clients' psychological status

Neil Brewer, John Barnes, James Sauer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This research examined the influence of peripheral message cues on clinicians' judgment about the psychological status of clients. The elaboration likelihood model (ELM) of social persuasion suggests that peripheral message cues are likely to exert a greater influence on clinicians' judgments when a client's presentation meets some, but not all, diagnostic criteria for a disorder (i.e., when the presentation is ambiguous). Within this theoretical framework, we examined the effects of a peripheral message cue (level of irrelevant detail in the client's presentation) and presentation ambiguity on clinicians' judgments of need for treatment, illness severity, and distress. Consistent with predictions based on the ELM, for both obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder presentations, high levels of irrelevant detail exerted a greater influence on clinicians' judgments of clients' need for treatment when presentation ambiguity was high than when it was low.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)67-83
    Number of pages17
    JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
    Volume50
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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