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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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91. Comparing Hierarchical Models of Personality Pathology

Two dimensional, hierarchical classification models of personality pathology have emerged as alternatives to traditional categorical systems: multi-tiered models with increasing numbers of factors and models that distinguish between a general factor of severity and specific factors reflecting style. Using a large sample (N=840) with a range of psychopathology, we conducted exploratory factor analyses of individual personality disorder criteria to evaluate the validity of these conceptual structures. We estimated an oblique, “unfolding” hierarchy and a bifactor model, then examined correlations between these and multi-method measures of basic personality, interpersonal functioning and other psychiatric symptoms to enrich interpretation. Four-factor solutions for each model, reflecting rotations of each other, fit well and equivalently. The resulting structures are consistent with previous empirical work and provide support for each theoretical model.

Whitney Ringwald
University of Pittsburgh

Aidan Wright
University of Pittsburgh

Paul Pilkonis
University of Pittsburgh

Joseph Beeney
University of Pittsburgh


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