Date of Award

4-6-2021

Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Kenneth Cramer

Rights

info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Abstract

The link between personality pathology and social functioning is well established in past research. As such, this study sought to contribute to the literature on the new alternative DSM-5 model for personality disorders, by examining how the dimensional pathological personality traits embedded within the model (viz. antagonism, disinhibition, negative affectivity, detachment, and psychoticism) relate to patterns in social behaviour, using the interpersonal circumplex as the model of social behaviour. The current study recruited 240 university students (‘targets’), who gave ratings of their own personality, nominated informants who provided parallel ratings of the targets’ personality, and completed an intensive repeated measures in naturalistic settings (IRM-NS) procedure to measure their social behaviour in naturally-emerging social interactions over a period of 10 days. A total of 147 cases with data from all three study components were gathered, and 204 targets completed the IRM-NS procedure. The relations between personality and social behaviour were examined from two perspectives. The first perspective compared the predictive validity of self- versus informant-reported traits in accounting for general trends in social behaviour. Much of the previous literature has suggested that informant-reports are particularly useful for understanding maladaptive personality traits and their connection to outcomes such as social functioning (e.g., Klein, 2003; Miller et al., 2005; Ready et al., 2002; Ro et al., 2017). A series of partially latent structural equation modelling (SEM) analyses were used to compare the utility of self- and informant-reports in predicting mean-level aggregations of the target’s behaviour from the IRM-NS procedure. These analyses showed that across all the personality traits examined, self-reported personality was a superior predictor of social behaviour, compared to informant-report personality. Moreover, each of the pathological personality traits was associated with a predominant interpersonal theme, and correlational agreement between the target and informants reached only modest levels, with informants reporting that the targets had lower levels of the pathological personality traits than did targets themselves. The second perspective examined how well the pathological personality traits could predict patterns of within-person variability in social behaviour. Within-person variability refers to the range in behaviour an individual exhibits across different interactions and over time; it concerns whether they tend to behave similarly in different interactions or are prone to demonstrating many different interpersonal styles. Past research suggests that higher levels of within-person variability represent dysfunction (Côté et al., 2012; Kopala-Sibley et al., 2013; Moskowitz & Zuroff, 2004, 2005; Russell et al., 2007). Multiple regression analyses were conducted with the pathological personality traits as predictors of various indices of within-person variability. Detachment and antagonism emerged as the most consistent predictors of within-person variability. However, the traits often did not collectively account for more variance than mean-level social behaviour scores, and the traits accounted for only modest amounts of explained variance in the within-person variability scores. This study contributes to the literature through its use of an ecologically valid measure of social behaviour, direct comparison of the validity of self and informant-reported personality traits, and examination of whether the pathological personality traits are better able to predict within-person variability in social behaviour than the predictors used in past examinations. The limitations of this study and directions for future research are discussed.

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