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Expectancy bias in behavioral observations of therapeutic outcome an experimental analysis of treatment and halo effects

Expectancy bias in behavioral observations of therapeutic outcome an experimental analysis of treatment and halo effects

Behaviour Research & Therapy 23(4): 407-414

Because of high reliabilities and the belief that behavioral observation is an objective and precise method with which to evalute therapeutic change, clinical researchers are increasingly relying upon observational ratings in treatment outcome studies. The primary objective of this investigation was to examine expectancy biases and gender effects using micro-, midi- and macro-dimensions of adjustment. Ss [subjects] were assigned to 2 treatment experimental manipulations in which they were led to believe that the Ss to be rated were either in need of and about to receive treatment, or that they had successfully completed treatment. In addition, raters were given another expectancy bias to assess potential halo effects in which rates were identified as either well-adjusted or poorly-adjusted. Using a Latin-square counterbalanced design, 30 highly trained and reliable raters conducted the ratings within the various experimental conditions. The results revealed numerous 'treatment' and 'halo' bias effects across both specific and global behavioral measures of adjustment and social interaction, all in the expected direction. There were several significant gender effect differences. However, no significant bias .times. sex interaction effects were observed. The findings are discussed with specific recommendations for controlling for these potential methodological confounds in clinical research.

Accession: 005419404

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 4026770

DOI: 10.1016/0005-7967(85)90168-8

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