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Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2005;1:355-80.

Categorical and dimensional models of personality disorder.

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Department of Psychology, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA.


We review major categorical and dimensional models of personality pathology, highlighting advantages and disadvantages of these approaches. Several analytic and methodological approaches to the question of the categorical versus dimensional status of constructs are discussed, including taxometric analyses, latent class analyses, and multivariate genetic analyses. Based on our review, we advocate a dimensional approach to classifying personality pathology. There is converging evidence that four major domains of personality are relevant to personality pathology: neuroticism/negative affectivity/emotional dysregulation; extraversion/positive emotionality; dissocial/antagonistic behavior; and constraint/compulsivity/conscientiousness. Finally, we discuss how dimensional approaches might be integrated into the diagnostic system, as well as some of the major issues that must be addressed in order for dimensional approaches to gain wide acceptance.

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