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Personal Disord. 2012 Jan;3(1):55-65. doi: 10.1037/a0024245.

Parental personality disorder symptoms are associated with dysfunctional parent-child interactions during early childhood: a multilevel modeling analysis.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, USA. sylia-wilson@northwestern.edu


Personality disorders (PDs) have been linked to impaired functioning in important interpersonal domains. The present study examined the effects of parental PD symptoms on observationally assessed parent-child interaction behaviors in a community sample of 145 mothers, fathers, and their 3- to 6-year-old children. As expected, parents who endorsed more PD symptoms generally demonstrated more negative parenting; effects were also found for children's interaction behaviors. Some effects on parent-child interaction were pervasive across PD constructs, whereas others were specific to particular PDs; several moderating effects of parent sex and child age were also found. Our results provide further evidence that personality pathology reflects pervasive dysfunction that is manifested across situational and interpersonal contexts, including the parent-child relationship, even within a community sample of participants with relatively mild levels of PD symptoms.

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