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

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130. Levels of Maladaptive Personality Traits in Cancer Patients

Research indicates that individuals with personality dysfunction (PD) have various adverse physical health outcomes. For example, studies show that those with PD have a lower life expectancy (-18 years) and a greater susceptibility to certain medical illnesses (e.g., heart disease). Further, longitudinal research shows that antagonism predicts a worsened course for major medical illnesses, though more research is needed. An infrequently studied illness in the PD literature is cancer, which is surprising given that alcohol/tobacco abuse are common in PD and they increase cancer risk. This study sought to examine the trait patterns in people undergoing cancer treatment. Patients in a head, neck, and lung cancer clinic (N = 64) completed the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5). Bayesian one-sample t-tests with diffuse priors compared sample scores to representative means. Results indicate that none of the credibility intervals for any factor overlapped with the comparison means. Each factor score—Antagonism, Negative affectivity, Disinhibition, Psychoticism, and Detachment—was significantly lower with a large effect size (Cohen’s d), contrary to our expectation. It may be that those undergoing cancer treatment experience an attenuation of PD-traits through post-traumatic growth, although this assertion needs to be tested longitudinally.

Christopher Spencer
University of Central Florida

Helize Vivier
University of Central Florida

Breana Davey
University of Central Florida

Jeffrey Bedwell
University of Central Florida


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