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84. Personality Trait Interactions and Therapeutic Outcome in Treatment-Seeking University Students
Five-Factor model (FFM) personality traits predict many consequential outcomes, including treatment responsiveness across a range of psychotherapies. The majority of studies investigating pathoplastic effects of personality, however, have focused only on evaluating main effects of FFM traits in the prediction of relevant outcomes without considering the predictive utility of synergistic relationships between combinations of traits. Examining the impact of FFM trait interactions on treatment outcomes, in particular, may enhance therapeutic effectiveness by serving to inform prognostic decisions. The present study investigated if FFM domains and their interactions predicted therapeutic outcomes in 51 treatment-seeking university students receiving 12 weeks of either a dialectical-behavioural therapy (DBT) skills group, a positive psychotherapy (PPT) group, a combination of group DBT and PPT, or individual treatment-as-usual. Participants experienced a variety of psychopathological symptoms best characterized as high emotion dysregulation. FFM personality traits were assessed at pre-treatment, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and emotion dysregulation were assessed at pre- and post-treatment. High conscientiousness and high openness were found to interact to predict reductions in depressive symptoms (statistical trend), beyond main effects and pre-treatment depression (ΔR² = .07). Findings suggest that individuals who are both intellectually/emotionally curious and goal-directed may be particularly receptive to psychotherapy.