Elucidating the Relationship Between Personality Disorder Traits and Aggression Using the New DSM-5 Dimensional–Categorical Model for Personality Disorder

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Abstract

Objectives: Several personality disorders (PDs) and PD traits are associated with an increased propensity for aggression. However, these associations are complex, and knowledge in the field has been hindered by problems in the conceptualization and measurement of PD and related traits. This review considers the newly proposed Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fifth edition; DSM-5) dimensional–categorical model of PD in an attempt to clarify the nature of the relationship between PD traits and aggression. This has not yet been explored. Method: A review of extant personality/PD and aggression literature was conducted. Results: The strongest associations likely exist between aggression and the DSM-5 domains of Antagonism and Negative Affectivity and for the following additional facets: Grandiosity, Attention-Seeking, and Separation Insecurity. Conclusions: This review and conceptualization provides a focus for future researchers to empirically elucidate the relationship between PD traits and aggression and for clinicians to more systematically assess and formulate relevant constructs to determine aggression potential in people with maladaptive PD traits, thereby enhancing aggression reduction treatment efforts.

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