Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of the present study was to examine whether the use of the DSM-III-R decision trees increases the accuracy and confidence and decreases the time of DSM-III-R diagnosis across subjects with varying levels of DSM-III-R experience. Subjects consisted of 20 undergraduate students, 20 graduate students, and 20 experienced users of the DSM-III-R. Subjects were presented with 10 case vignettes and instructed to make an Axis I DSM-III-R diagnosis for each vignette. On five of the vignettes, the subjects were instructed to use the DSM-III-R in their usual manner that they make diagnoses with the exception that they are not to use the decision trees provided in the manual. On the other five vignettes they were instructed to use the decision trees and were provided with two suggestions on how to use the trees. The main analysis consisted of a 3 x 2 x 2 multiple analysis of variance to determine whether the use of the decision trees increased diagnostic accuracy and diagnostic confidence, and decreased diagnostic time. Results showed that the experienced subjects tended to make more accurate diagnoses than the less experienced and the no experienced subjects. In addition, the decision trees along with some practice increased class diagnostic accuracy and had a significant effect on diagnostic time. Finally, this analysis showed that subjects were more confident in their diagnosis when they used the decision trees than when they did not use the decision trees. Supplementary analyses consisted of two one-way analysis of variance designs and showed that whether or not the subjects liked using the decision trees and understood how to use the decision trees did not significantly affect diagnostic accuracy.


Kenneth Olson

Date of Award

Summer 1993

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1993 Robert D. Morgan


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