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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2009 Jan;197(1):15-23. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318192770c.

Personality subtypes in disruptive adolescent males.

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Child and Family Institute, St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.


This study examined whether personality differences might account for meaningful heterogeneity within and across DSM-IV diagnostic categories for disruptive adolescent boys. In a broader study of personality pathology in adolescence, a national sample of 293 clinicians completed the Shedler-Westen Assessment Procedure 200-A on randomly selected outpatients aged 14 to 18 in their care. Of 138 boys in the sample, 71 had a diagnosis of Disruptive Behavior Disorders or a history of arrests. Q-factor analysis identified 3 personality subtypes within this subsample: psychopathic (n = 28), social outcast (n = 22), and impulsive delinquent (n = 17). The subtypes differed on external criterion variables indicative of a valid taxonomic distinction, notably personality ratings, clinician-report child behavior checklist subscale scores, and etiologic variables. Personality subtypes converged with subtypes of delinquent boys identified by longitudinal research, and they showed substantial incremental validity in predicting adaptive functioning beyond Disruptive Behavior Disorders diagnoses. Results suggest that dimensional personality assessment in disruptive/delinquent adolescent boys provides information beyond existing diagnoses that may prove useful in prevention, clinical conceptualization, and treatment.

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