Interpersonal problems and conceptions of personality disorders

A. L. Pincus, J. S. Wiggins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


A growing consensus in the literature on personality disorders suggests that dysfunctional interpersonal behavior is either the defining feature or a major component of many personality disorders. Interpersonal psychologists have described personality-disordered individuals as displaying rigid maladaptive patterns of interaction with others that in turn elicit a limited class of responses that can perpetuate the dysfunctional pattern. The conception of interpersonal problems as interpersonal behavioral excesses and inhibitions (Horowitz, 1979) was proposed as an indicator of such rigid interaction patterns. Conceptions of personality disorders inherent in the MMPI Personality Disorder Scales and the Personality Adjective Check List were evaluated in this study within the context of a circumplex model of interpersonal problems. The data supported an interpersonal conceptualization of a number of personality disorders. The results are discussed with reference to Millon's theory of personality and the centrality of dysfunctional interpersonal behavior for describing personality disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-352
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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