Koonce et al Poster

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Published on August 9, 2007

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The Interpersonal Characteristics of Pathological TraitsElizabeth A. Koonce, Rebecca M. DeMoor, Leslie C. Morey, & Christopher J. Hopwood Texas A&M University:  The Interpersonal Characteristics of Pathological Traits Elizabeth A. Koonce, Rebecca M. DeMoor, Leslie C. Morey, andamp; Christopher J. Hopwood Texas Aandamp;M University Introduction Dissatisfaction with person heterogeneity in DSM personality disorder categories, among other issues, has led to the proposal of several trait alternatives to the current diagnostic framework, such as the Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality (SNAP; Clark, 1993) and the Dimensional Assessment of Personality Pathology (DAPP; Livesley andamp; Jackson, in press). One test of the incremental utility of dimensional models involves their ability to capture interpersonal characteristics associated with personality disorder. The interpersonal circumplex model (IPC) represents a nomological net useful for capturing personality and personality disorder variability (Gurtman, 1992, Pincus, 2005). Consistent with the original purpose of the model (Leary, 1957), previous research has demonstrated that some of the personality disorders as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM; American Psychiatric Association) can be reliably placed on particular segments of the IPC (e.g., Blackburn, 1998; Morey, 1985; Pincus andamp; Wiggins, 1990), although results have been inconsistent for some categories (e.g., borderline; Hopwood andamp; Morey, in press). Empirical relations between these dimensional systems and the IPC are unknown. Findings could imply that the use of dimensional systems would provide clinicians with a diagnostic system better able to model relevant interpersonal characteristics. Thus, the purpose of this study is to investigate the relations of the SNAP and DAPP traits to the IPC. Method Participants Participants were 182 undergraduates from a large southwestern university. The sample was composed of 108 women and 74 men, ages 18-22. Each participant completed a measure of interpersonal problems (IIP-SC; Soldz, Budman, Demby, andamp; Merry, 1995) and traits (IAS; Wiggins, 1995) and either the SNAP (N=88) or the DAPP (N=94). Measures The Dimensional Assessment of Personality Pathology – Behavior Questionnaire (DAPP – BQ; Livesley andamp; Jackson, in press) is a 290-item questionnaire with a 5-point response scale that measures the 18 primary traits of the DAPP model. The Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality (SNAP; Clark, 1993) is a 375 true-false item instrument measuring 15 dimensions (three temperament and 12 trait scales) relevant to personality pathology. The Interpersonal Adjective Scales (IAS; Wiggins, 1995) is a 64-item self-report questionnaire designed to measure interpersonal traits. Participants are asked to rate themselves using trait-descriptive adjectives according to an 8-point scale. The Inventory of Interpersonal Problems – Screening Version (IIP-SC; Soldz et al, 1995) is a 32-item instrument designed to measure interpersonal problems. It is comprised of items from the commonly used 127- and 64-item versions of the IIP (Horowitz, Alden, Wiggins, andamp; Pincus, 2000). Analyses Dimensional traits were projected onto the IPC trait (IAS) and problems (IIP-SC) circumplexes using vector models as described in Wiggins and Broughton (1991). Two IPC parameters were computed. Vector length represents the extent to which an interpersonal pattern is well-defined. Thus, longer vector lengths suggest more interpersonal content. Angle represents the IPC space with which traits are most strongly associated. Results Many of the traits from both measures had substantial IPC projections (See Figures 1 – 4). The largest vector lengths were observed for traits whose descriptions in primary sources (SNAP; Clark, 1993; DAPP: Livesley, 2006) imply interpersonal content (e.g., DAPP callousness, SNAP detachment), whereas the smallest vectors were obtained for traits with less interpersonal content (e.g., DAPP compulsivity, SNAP propriety), although there were some anomalous findings (e.g., DAPP narcissism). Data also suggests that the interpersonal saturation of trait measures was similar for both IPC measures; the correlation of vector lengths across trait and problem circumplexes was .68 for the DAPP-BQ and .79 for the SNAP. Observed angles were also mostly consistent with expectations based on the descriptions of scale content by the test authors. Discussion The current study demonstrates that, in general, dimensional traits, particularly those with content that is interpersonal in nature, can be captured by the IPC in theoretically expected ways. Results suggest these models may provide a more nuanced picture of the interpersonal difficulties associated with personality pathology. For example, the traits associated with borderline PD arrayed across the IPC, perhaps clarifying inconsistent results in studies of the convergence between IPC and DSM. With some exceptions, vector angles suggest that DAPP and SNAP dimensions tended to be associated with the cold half of the IPC in general and the cold-dominant quadrant of the IIP in particular. This may suggest differences between traits and problems among undergraduates, measurement issues, that pathological personality characteristics are predominately cold, or that there are elements of personality dysfunction on the warm side that are not captured by the DSM, SNAP, or DAPP (Leary, 1957). Future research should explore the relevance of personality pathology on the warm side of the circumplex. Limitations of the current study include the use of undergraduate participants and the use of the brief version of the IIP to assess interpersonal problems. Replication in a clinical sample using the parent IIP or the IIP-C would be useful to extend current results. More research regarding the relation of dimensional pathology and IPC constructs with these and other models would be helpful to understand the place of trait systems in interpersonal theory and research. . Figure 1: Projections of the Dimensional Assessment of Personality Pathology – Behavior Questionnaire scales on the Interpersonal Adjective Scales circumplex Figure 2: Projections of the Dimensional Assessment of Personality Pathology – Behavior Questionnaire scales on the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems circumplex Figure 3: Projections of the Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality scales on the Interpersonal Adjective Scales circumplex Figure 4: Projections of the Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality scales correlated with the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems circumplex.

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