Pathological Personality Traits

The particular problems of self- and interpersonal functioning that a person might show will depend on his or her levels of various personality traits. The proposed new system recognizes 25 specific personality traits (called “trait facets”) as being potentially pathological or maladaptive, when an individual shows a high level of the trait. There is nothing special about the number 25—the researchers could have identified more traits (by dividing some of the listed traits) or fewer traits (by combining some of those that were similar). But the set of 25 was meant to be reasonably convenient for the purpose of describing patients in terms of traits that might be pathological (Krueger et al., 2011; Krueger, Derringer, Markon, Watson, & Skodol, 2012).

The 25 maladaptive traits, listed in Table 8.3, are classified into five broad dimensions, also called “domains.” This arrangement is very similar to those that are used for personality traits in general, based on the results of factor analyses. To see this similarity, compare the list of traits in Table 8.3 with those for the NEO Personality Inventory—Revised (Table 3.4) and for the HEXACO Personality Inventory (Table 3.6). As explained later, several of these domains are similar to factors of the Big Five or the HEXACO framework (Ashton, Lee, de Vries, Hendrickse, & Born, 2012).

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