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Psychol Assess. 2003 Jun;15(2):205-15.

Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire profiles of veterans with traumatic combat exposure: externalizing and internalizing subtypes.

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National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, 150 South Huntington Avenue (116B-2), Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


This study used the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ; A. Tellegen, in press) to identify personality-based subtypes of posttraumatic response. Cluster analyses of MPQs completed by combat veterans revealed subgroups that differed on measures relating to the externalization versus internalization of distress. The MPQ profile of the externalizing cluster was defined by low Constraint and Harmavoidance coupled with high Alienation and Aggression. Individuals in this cluster also had histories of delinquency and high rates of substance-related disorder. In comparison, the MPQ profile of the internalizing cluster was characterized by lower Positive Emotionality, Alienation, and Aggression and higher Constraint, and individuals in this cluster showed high rates of depressive disorder. These findings suggest that dispositions toward externalizing versus internalizing psychopathology may account for heterogeneity in the expression of posttraumatic responses, including patterns of comorbidity.

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