Detecting the presence of a personality disorder using interpersonal and self-dysfunction

Joseph E. Beeney, Sophie A. Lazarus, Michael N. Hallquist, Stephanie D. Stepp, Aidan G.C. Wright, Lori N. Scott, Rachel A. Giertych, Paul A. Pilkonis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Calls have increased to place interpersonal and self-disturbance as defining features of personality disorders (PDs). Findings from a methodologically diverse set of studies suggest that a common factor undergirds all PDs. The nature of this core of PDs, however, is not clear. In the current study, interviews were completed for DSM-IV PD diagnosis and interpersonal dysfunction independently with 272 individuals (PD = 191, no-PD = 91). Specifically, we evaluated interpersonal dysfunction across social domains. In addition, we empirically assessed the structure of self-dysfunction in PDs. We found dysfunction in work and romantic domains, and unstable identity uniquely predicted variance in the presence of a PD. Using receiver operating characteristic analysis, we found that the interpersonal dysfunction and self-dysfunction scales each predicted PDs with high accuracy. In combination, the scales resulted in excellent sensitivity (.90) and specificity (.88). The results support interpersonal and self-dysfunction as general factors of PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-248
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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