Pathological Personality Traits Can CaptureDSM–IVPersonality Disorder Types

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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) includes an alternative diagnostic approach to the assessment of personality disorders (PDs) in Section III with the aim of stimulating further research. Diagnosis of a PD using this approach is predicated on the presence of personality impairment and pathological personality traits. The types of traits present (e.g., callousness vs. emotional lability) are used to derive DSM–IV PD scores. Concerns have been raised, however, that such a trait-based approach will yield PD constructs that differ substantially from those generated using the approaches articulated in previous iterations of the DSM. We empirically examined this issue in a sample of 109 adults who were currently receiving mental health treatment. More specifically, we examined the correlations between interview-based PD scores derived from DSM–IV to DSM-5 PD trait counts, and tested them in relation to the 30 specific facets of the five-factor model, as well as internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Overall, the DSM–IV PD scores and DSM-5 PD trait counts correlated significantly with one another (Mr = .63), demonstrated similar patterns of interrelations among the PDs, and manifested highly similar patterns of correlations with general personality traits and symptoms of psychopathology. These results indicate that the DSM-5 PD trait counts specified in the alternative DSM-5 PD diagnostic approach capture the same constructs as those measured using the more traditional DSM–IV diagnostic system.

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