Target-, Informant-, and Meta-Perceptual Ratings of Maladaptive Traits

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Target–informant agreement about target personality traits can depend on the nature of the traits being considered, whether or not targets or informants are asked to take into account the other’s point of view, and the relationship between the informant and the target. This study sought to further explore these patterns by extending existing research in 3 ways in a sample of 335 targets and 548 informants. First, unlike previous research that has focused nearly exclusively on normal range traits with potentially limited clinical relevance or personality disorder categories with questionable validity, we assessed personality using a comprehensive model of maladaptive traits. Second, we gathered 4 sets of ratings: target self-ratings, informant ratings of targets, targets’ metaperceptions of how they believe targets would rate them, and informant metaperceptions of how they believe targets would rate themselves. Third, we compared the ratings of informants with different relationships to the targets, including fathers, mothers, siblings, friends, and romantic partners. Results suggest that the degree to which targets and informants agree differs depending on the trait being rated and whether targets or informants metaperceived their trait ratings, and that these differences are particularly apparent when examined within specific kinds of relationships. These results have implications for which informants clinicians might select in clinical personality assessment, as well as for future research on the multimethod assessment of maladaptive traits.

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