Pathological personality traits can capture DSM–IV personality disorder types.
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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) includes an alternative diagnostic approach to the assessment of personality disorders (PDs) in Section III with the aim of stimulating further research. Diagnosis of a PD using this approach is predicated on the presence of personality impairment and pathological personality traits. The types of traits present (e.g., callousness vs. emotional lability) are used to derive DSM-IV PD scores. Concerns have been raised, however, that such a trait-based approach will yield PD constructs that differ substantially from those generated using the approaches articulated in previous iterations of the DSM. We empirically examined this issue in a sample of 109 adults who were currently receiving mental health treatment. More specifically, we examined the correlations between interview-based PD scores derived from DSM-IV to DSM-5 PD trait counts, and tested them in relation to the 30 specific facets of the five-factor model, as well as internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Overall, the DSM-IV PD scores and DSM-5 PD trait counts correlated significantly with one another (Mr = .63), demonstrated similar patterns of interrelations among the PDs, and manifested highly similar patterns of correlations with general personality traits and symptoms of psychopathology. These results indicate that the DSM-5 PD trait counts specified in the alternative DSM-5 PD diagnostic approach capture the same constructs as those measured using the more traditional DSM-IV diagnostic system.
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