The relationship between dimensional personality traits and treatment outcomes in clinical and forensic settings

Sky, Alison (2020) The relationship between dimensional personality traits and treatment outcomes in clinical and forensic settings. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

[thumbnail of 2021SkyAClinPsyD.pdf]
Download (6MB) | Preview


Aims: The present thesis portfolio sought to contribute to understanding the mechanisms of change in mental health treatment, by exploring the association between the idiosyncratic client-specific factor of personality traits and outcomes of treatment. Specifically, it sought to understand whether (a) client personality traits predict the outcomes of psychological intervention, and (b) there is a significant relationship between personality traits and treatment outcomes in forensic mental health services (FMHS).

Design: Two pieces of research were undertaken. A systematic review synthesised the available literature to understand whether five-factor model (FFM; Costa & McCrae, 1990) traits have been shown to predict clinical and psychosocial outcomes of empirically supported psychological interventions. An empirical research project measured the amount of change patients in FMHS showed in clinical and risk factors, after a considerable period of treatment (18 months), and correlated this with patients’ scores on a measure of their personality traits.

Results: The systematic review identified few studies that explored the predictive role of personality traits for outcomes of psychological interventions. Within these, few significant predictive relationships were found. Conscientiousness showed the most predictive value for treatment outcomes. The empirical project found little significant change in clinical and risk outcomes following long-term inpatient treatment and it was therefore not possible to determine whether there was a significant relationship with personality traits.

Conclusions: Both studies identified challenges to investigating the impact of client personality traits on the course and outcomes of treatment. These include the complexity of the possible interaction of numerous variables in the course of treatment, and the heterogeneity in the research designs and methods used to investigate them. Further research is needed to understand the impact personality traits have on treatment, both as predictors, and moderators for other idiosyncratic variables. Further research is also needed into the effectiveness of treatment in FMHS.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2021 11:08
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2021 11:08


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item