Diagnostic accuracy in Australian psychologists: Impact of experience and endorsement on the anchoring effect

Daniel John Wendt, Graham Tyson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: There is pressure domestically and internationally to abandon the “4+2” pathway in order to more closely align with other western countries. Yet there is limited empirical evidence to support the benefits of the “postgraduate” pathway above that of the internship model. This study examined the training pathways to qualify for registration as a psychologist in Australia and their relationship to years of practice experience, the anchoring effect, and diagnostic accuracy.
Method: A total of 121 psychologists in Australia completed the study requirements via an online questionnaire. The participants were randomly allocated to conditions with those in the experimental groups receiving an introductory statement suggesting a diagnosis (depression or anxiety). The control group received no statement. All participants then reviewed the same deidentified case material of a real client and formulated a diagnosis based on the information presented. The data were examined using hierarchical binary logistic regression.
Results: The study found that endorsement significantly predicted more accurate diagnosis but that additional practice experience did not further increase diagnostic skills in the specialist group. Additional years of practice experience did improve accuracy in those without endorsement. An anchoring effect was not consistently observed.
Conclusions: The results suggest that endorsement appears beneficial for improving diagnostic accuracy; however, a similar level of improvement can be acquired through practice experience if endorsement is not pursued. While the endorsement pathway appears advantageous, practice experience also has its merits as an alternative to develop clinical skills
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-242
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number3
Early online dateSept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


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