Personality pathology and interpersonal problem stability

Aidan G.C. Wright, Lori N. Scott, Stephanie D. Stepp, Michael N. Hallquist, Paul A. Pilkonis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Personality disorders (PDs) are often described as stable, which ignores the important dynamic processes and shifts that are observed clinically in individuals with PD. The current study examined patterns of variability in problematic interpersonal functioning, a core feature of personality pathology. Participants (N = 150) were assessed for personality pathology at baseline and also completed the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems–Circumplex Scales at baseline and every 3 months over the course of a year. Baseline PD was used to predict individual means and variability parameters in generalized interpersonal distress, agentic problems, and communal problems across repeated assessments. Disorders associated with disinhibition predicted variability in generalized distress and agentic problems, whereas only antagonism-related disorders predicted variability in communal problems. These associations reveal dynamic processes involved in multiple dimensions of personality pathology and suggest that future research on instability is needed that expands beyond the historical focus on borderline PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-706
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 23 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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