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J Pers Disord. 2012 Apr;26(2):298-304. doi: 10.1521/pedi.2012.26.2.298.

Personality disorder categories as combinations of dimensions: translating cooperative behavior in borderline personality disorder into the five-factor framework.

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Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki, University of Helsinki, Finland.


The authors examined the proposal that personality disorder categories may denote particular detrimental combinations of personality dimensions. A multiround economic exchange game (ten round trust game), conducted with university students pre-selected on basis of their personalities (N = 164), provided a framework within which to investigate inability to repair ruptured cooperation. This behavior, thought to be characteristic of patients diagnosed with DSM-IV borderline personality disorder, was predicted only by the combination of high Neuroticism and low Agreeableness. Our results highlight an advantage of the categorical approach, category labels being a much more economic means of description than the delineation of interactions between dimensions.

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