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Assessment. 2012 Sep;19(3):263-75. doi: 10.1177/1073191112446657. Epub 2012 May 14.

An interpersonal analysis of pathological personality traits in DSM-5.

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  • 1The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA. wright.aidan@gmail.com


The proposed changes to the personality disorder section of the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.) places an increased focus on interpersonal impairment as one of the defining features of personality psychopathology. In addition, a proposed trait model has been offered to provide a means of capturing phenotypic variation on the expression of personality disorder. In this study, the authors subject the proposed DSM-5 traits to interpersonal analysis using the inventory of interpersonal problems-circumplex scales via the structural summary method for circumplex data. DSM-5 traits were consistently associated with generalized interpersonal dysfunction suggesting that they are maladaptive in nature, the majority of traits demonstrated discriminant validity with prototypical and differentiated interpersonal problem profiles, and conformed well to a priori hypothesized associations. These results are discussed in the context of the DSM-5 proposal and contemporary interpersonal theory, with a particular focus on potential areas for expansion of the DSM-5 trait model.

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