A dimensional approach to assessing personality functioning: Examining personality trait domains utilizing DSM-IV personality disorder criteria

James Chris Fowler, Carla Sharp, Allison Kalpakci, Alok Madan, Joshua Clapp, Jon G. Allen, B. Christopher Frueh, John M. Oldham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background This study compared a dimensional, trait domain approach to characterizing personality pathology with the traditional polythetic approach with respect to their associations with interpersonal functioning and personality traits from the five factor model. Methods Psychiatric inpatients (N = 1476) were administered the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II personality disorders. Dimensional representations of trait domains were derived from reorganizing DSM-IV criteria into personality trait domains from DSM-5 Alternative Model. Dimensional scores and personality disorder (PD) total criterion scores served as independent variables in predicting interpersonal profile clusters, as well as extraversion, agreeableness conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness from the five factor model traits. Results Trait domain scores and PD criteria totals were significantly correlated with submissive interpersonal style yet none proved significant in regression analyses. Avoidant and borderline PD total criteria were negatively associated with a normative interpersonal style. Combined trait domain of detachment and avoidant PD total criteria predicted a hostile/withdrawn interpersonal style. The trait domain of detachment was negatively associated with five factor traits of extroversion, whereas borderline PD total criteria were negatively associated with conscientiousness. Avoidant and borderline PD total criteria were positively associated with neuroticism. Conclusions The cross-cutting dimensional approach provided useful information in predicting a hostile/withdrawn interpersonal style as well as extroversion. Importantly, PD criterion scores and dimensional trait scores combined to predict this interpersonal style providing support to the alternative model of personality diagnosis in DSM-5. Clinicians are encouraged to assess dimensions of personality traits as these are related to interpersonal problems frequently encountered in psychiatric settings. While potentially useful, the dimensional approach articulated here did not yield substantial prediction of behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Volume56
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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