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

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128. General Personality Dysfunction and General Anxiety Severity

There is limited existing research on how general anxiety relates to domains of personality functioning, with some research finding relationships with problems in identity formation. The present study explored this topic further, as general anxiety is prevalent in the community and additional knowledge about related core personality problems would be useful for clinical applications. A large sample of 1,335 undergraduate students completed self-report measures online and met inclusion and exclusion criteria, including scores on two validity scales (63.7% female; mean age = 19.85, SD = 3.64, range = 18 - 57). Measures included the Level of Personality Functioning Scale (LPFS), which provides factor scores for problems with Identity, Intimacy, Empathy, and Self-Direction, and the Anxiety subscale of the Brief Symptom Inventory. A linear regression entered age, sex, the four LPFS factors, and the interaction of sex with each LPFS factor. Results revealed that increased general anxiety severity related to greater problems with identity and empathy in both sexes, although women showed larger effect sizes. Future longitudinal research in psychiatric samples can help clarify causal directions of these relationships. If replicated, results suggest that clinicians may find it useful to assess identity and empathy functioning in patients presenting with general anxiety.

Ashley Lee Lum
University of Central Florida

Christopher Spencer
University of Central Florida

Jeffrey Bedwell
University of Central Florida


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