Multivariate classification of day-care patients: Personality as a dimensional continuum

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Examined the categorical vs dimensional view of psychiatric abnormality for 3 groups of 86 dysthymic neurotics, 33 schizophrenics, and 38 alcoholics. The mean age of all Ss was 37.8 yrs. A discriminant function analysis correctly assigned 70% of the Ss to their a priori diagnostic profiles, though the “hit rate” rose to 90% when Ss were aligned on a continuum of severity in 2-dimensional person space. Univariate F ratios showed the 3 phenotypes to differ on 12 of 26 parameters, yet 18 significant Fs emerged when the Ss' degree of neuroticism was taken as a putative index of general maladjustment. Results show that H. J. Eysenck's Extraversion and Neuroticism personality factors share a considerable degree of collinearity with the factorially pure Tryon-Stein-Chu trait clusters (K. B. Stein, 1968). Many forms of psychopathology, it is argued, reflect gross deviations of the continuously variable dimensions of personality, not discontinuities with qualitative change points. It is suggested that a “dimensional” model of personality functioning may well, owing to its theoretical quantifiability, supercede the notion of psychiatric “disease” types. (41 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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