A Parallel Process Growth Model of Avoidant Personality Disorder Symptoms and Personality Traits

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Avoidant personality disorder (AVPD), like other personality disorders, has historically been construed as a highly stable disorder. However, results from a number of longitudinal studies have found that the symptoms of AVPD demonstrate marked change over time. Little is known about which other psychological systems are related to this change. Although cross-sectional research suggests a strong relationship between AVPD and personality traits, no work has examined the relationship of their change trajectories. The current study sought to establish the longitudinal relationship between AVPD and basic personality traits using parallel process growth curve modeling. Parallel process growth curve modeling was applied to the trajectories of AVPD and basic personality traits from the Longitudinal Study of Personality Disorders (Lenzenweger, M. F., 2006, The longitudinal study of personality disorders: History, design considerations, and initial findings. Journal of Personality Disorders, 20, 645–670. doi:10.1521/pedi.2006.20.6.645), a naturalistic, prospective, multiwave, longitudinal study of personality disorder, temperament, and normal personality. The focus of these analyses is on the relationship between the rates of change in both AVPD symptoms and basic personality traits. AVPD symptom trajectories demonstrated significant negative relationships with the trajectories of interpersonal dominance and affiliation, and a significant positive relationship to rates of change in neuroticism. These results provide some of the first compelling evidence that trajectories of change in PD symptoms and personality traits are linked. These results have important implications for the ways in which temporal stability is conceptualized in AVPD specifically, and PD in general.

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