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Clinical Judgments and Self-Ratings of Traits and States

HELEN A. HEATH, PhD; SHELDON J. KORCHIN, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;9(4):390-399. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720160080011.
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In personality assessment, self-ratings of feelings and emotions will vary according to the frame of reference suggested by the instructions. If a subject is requested to evaluate himself according to his usual or characteristic mood, the implication is that he should use the hypothetical distribution of others as a basis for making judgments. By contrast, if the instructions are to rate his affective state during a particular interval, he will be more apt to respond in terms of his own range of emotional experiences. In this paper the former will be denoted as "trait" instructions and the latter as "state" instructions. This is an extension of the connotation attributed to these two terms by Cattell and Scheier3 who appropriately define factors which describe interindividual differences at any given time as trait factors and those which describe intraindividual changes as state factors. Likewise, psychiatric

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