Description: You may not know, off the top of your head, what the diagnostic criteria are for the 10 Personality Disorder (PD) types split over three clusters in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5). Given the word “personality” in their category title, you might expect that they would be defined by the patterns they reflect on a series of personality dimensions, likely maladaptive ones given that it refers to “disordered” personalities. Within the DSM-5 however, each PD is defined categorically by a set of diagnostic criteria which leads to decisions about whether individuals do or no not have a PD, with no dimensionality about it. But what if, as the title of the linked article suggests, it was the case that responses to just 3 questions correlated with between .5 and .7 with PD determinations using inventories with many, many more items? This sort of approach and finding arises out of the sort of dimensional approach to PD’s I mentioned above. What might a set of 7 core PD traits involve? Think about that and then have a look though the linked article that describes a recent study into precisely that question.
Source: 3 Simple Questions Screen for Common Personality Disorders, Grant Hilary Brenner, Experimentations, Psychology Today.
Date: December 20, 2020
A dimensional approach to PD’s could provide a much richer description of the PD domain. In fact, the committee considering revisions to the PD section of the DSM-4 gave serious consideration to such a dimensional approach. Ultimately they backed away from it slightly due to pressure from Clinical Psychologists who work with PD who argued that they were not yet prepared to adapt their practices to such a new direction. The dimensional approach is coming though and will a shift to it will likely be finalized with the next edition of the DSM. The three questions, when reformatted using what the author refers to as compassionate candor are: 1. Am I too sensitive to rejection? 2. It is hard for me to take instructions from people who have authority over me. 3. Do I argue with people too much? It is possible to see that the questions do not lead to a simple “I am or am not disordered” statement but, rather suggests a number are areas of dimensions where one might benefits from some personal development work. It’s the new future of PD’s!
Questions for Discussion:
- How does the DSM-5 define personality disorders?
- Why might a dimensional approach to PD’s be more effective?
- What are some of the dimensions of PD and what sorts of things might people be helped to do that will improve their pattern of PD dimensional behaviors?
References (Read Further):
APA (2018) What are Personality Disorders? Link
Pilkonis, P. A., Johnston, K. L., & Dodds, N. E. (2020). Validation of the Three-Item Screener for Personality Disorders From the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (IIP-3). Journal of Personality Disorders, 1-14. Abstract Link
Youngson, R. (2014). Re-inspiring compassionate caring: the reawakening purpose workshop. Journal of Compassionate Health Care, 1(1), 1. Link
Brenner, G. (2020) 7 Core Pathological Personality Traits, Neighborhood Psychiatry, Psychology Today. Link
McCabe, G. A., & Widiger, T. A. (2020). Discriminant validity of the alternative model of personality disorder. Psychological Assessment, 32(12), 1158. Abstract Link
Zeigler-Hill, V., & Hobbs, K. A. (2017). The darker aspects of motivation: Pathological personality traits and the fundamental social motives. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 36(2), 87-107. Link
Góngora, V. C., & Castro Solano, A. (2017). Pathological personality traits (DSM-5), risk factors, and mental health. Sage Open, 7(3), 2158244017725129. Link